Carolyn Fick's claim about patterns of farming after emancipation Sept. 1, 1996

Bob Corbett

In Carolyn Fick's book, THE MAKING OF HAITI: THE SAINT DOMINGUE REVOLUTION FROM BELOW, she has a chapter which deals with the reaction of the slaves to the emancipation which Sonthonax and Polverel announced in 1794. In general it she points out that the slaves simply did not want to go back to plantation work in almost any form.

One former slave owner whom she quotes, claims that the slaves don't want to work the plantation, not even for wages, but prefer to work a bit for subsistence.

Fick goes on to say:

"It may indeed be presumptuous to assert at this point that the popular ideological origins of the emergent Haitian peasantry lie in this immediate post-emancipation period. Extensive research into peasant lifestyles, modes of social organization, the relationship of kinship ties to the land, and much more, would be needed to develop and sustain such an assertion, all of which lies far beyond the scope of the present study. It can perhaps be suggested, however, that the independent attitude toward the land and the implacable resistance to forced labor expressed in diverse ways by the black workers (whether as maroons, as in the case of the Platons rebels, or as plantation laborers, many of whom were themselves ex-Platons rebels) was at once an extension of that small measure of autonomy they had acquired under slavery with their kitchen gardens and marketing experience, and at the same time the beginning of a consciousness that later became manifest in the formation of a class of small, more or less self-sufficient, peasant producers. It was, at any rate, the very antithesis of the plantation regime and its requisite organization of labor." p. 180


Art, Music, & Dance Book Reviews Film History Library Literature
Mailing List Miscellaneous Topics Notes on Books People to People Voodoo


Bob Corbett