alexandre petion

Today in Haitian History - April 2, 1770 - Birth of Alexandre Pétion. Alexandre Sabès Pétion was a Haitian revolutionary and later president of the Republic.

While Pétion sided with André Rigaud’s army (Toussaint Lovertrue’s major opponent) in some of the earlier battles of the Haitian Revolution, he later changed alliance to join Toussaint’s successor Jean-Jacques Dessalines. After Dessalines’ assasination in 1806, the constitutional crisis of 1807 and Haiti’s secession, Pétion became president of Southern Haiti. He died in office in 1818.

Haitian postage stamp issued in 1904 to mark the centennial of the country’s independence, featuring former Haitian president and revolutionary figure Alexandre Pétion. Born in Port-au-Prince in 1770 to a Black Saint-Domingue-born mother and a White Frenchman, Pétion was sent to France to study at a military academy. He was part of the colony’s gens de couleur class, made up of free people of mixed Black ancestry. After being involved in the fight for Haitian independence, and following the deaths of Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Pétion became president of the breakaway southern part of Haiti, while his contemporary Henri Christophe ruled the nation’s north. Pétion died of yellow fever in 1818 at age 48. During his lifetime, Pétion gave refuge to Simón Bolívar in the southern city of Jacmel, and provided him with material support for his fight for South American independence. 

My Black Son

My Dearest Alex, I have spent the past 48 hours in shock and as a Mother weeping. Weeping for Trayvon Martin, his mother and the plight of black men.

I’ve been through this scene before: Diallo, Dorismond…. But back then I didn’t have you. When the Martin verdict was pronounced “not guilty” it paralyzed me. It made me aware that my son, my gorgeous, fun, tough, loving, intelligent and ONLY son was going to be a young black man in America- soon to be a teenager. With that comes attitude, testing all limits, finding yourself and probably getting into some kind of “trouble”. This is all part of growing up, no adult has transitioned through adolescence without making a bad choice.

My dear Son, things are different. I have to prepare you for Driving while Black, walking while black and profiling. You will not be profiled for being intelligent, for being named after the famous freedom fighter, for being the son of a law enforcement professional or the son of an Executive. In fact, the perpetrator will not profile you for growing up in suburbia, surrounded by educated, professional family members - many who are bi or trilingual, the fact that your Black Godparents hold multiple degrees including one with the title of “surgeon”. Sorry to tell you my Precious, beloved grandson of a Professional Engineer who is the CEO of a private firm in New York City- you will be profiled for being you.

Your brown skin will be viewed as an opportunity to profile you as a thief in a store vs a consumer; your swagger will be misrepresented as a negative attitude, your use of words to defend yourself as being used at the “wrong time”. You see Alex, America has a nasty secret: it is founded and continues to operate with racist principles. Racists use laws and policies to validate inequity and to ensure poverty and crime remain a fixed asset in the lives of people they do not feel are worthy.

What America must face up to is it will no longer be a White America. The entire world is changing and unless we understand the value of all people —and yes this includes black boys, young black teenagers and black men —America will not prosper.

I am so devastated by all of this that I have hugged and kissed you more than ever in the past two days. Extra hand holding and squeezes. Alex, you are my son. I take that privilege very seriously. I will work my hardest to give you the best education, values and encourage your spiritual growth and development. What I will NOT do is participate in any ridiculous rhetoric that is offensive to people- Black, White, Asian, Latino, Gay, Immigrant, etc. That’s where the racists win- if we do nothing and allow ourselves to buy into the glory of racism in America.

Not now, not ever! I am forever and will always be on the path of truth, enlightenment and transition. Know my Son that I will take you with me on the journey.

Today in Haitian History - March 9, 1807: The Haitian Senate elects Alexandre Pétion as president of Haiti. (In effect, Pétion only rules Southern parts of Haiti, as the country secedes and the North is governed by Henri Christophe, who in 1811, establishes a monarchy.)

Today in Haitian History - March 29, 1818 - Death of Alexandre Pétion. While rivalry  with Henri Christophe (King of Northern Haiti) prevailed throughout Alexandre Pétion’s presidency, Pétion’s land policies made him a much loved figure among the “masses.”

Unable to use similar coercive measures as Christophe, nor to revitalize large-scale plantation agriculture, Pétion opted for the parcelling out of national land in order to collect taxation revenues. As a result, an unprecedented number of peasants owned a piece of property that they could exploit. Because of his overall personality and land reforms (regardlessness of what his original objective had been), Pétion was known in his time as “Bon Papa Pétion” or  "Papa Bon Coeur“ (Good Father Pétion, or Good Hearted Father). He was replaced by Jean Pierre Boyer. 

February 17, 1807:  Henri Christophe promulgates a new Constitution. * While Christophe was Dessalines' legitimate successor, rivalry between black generals and mulatto elite fractions made it so that Christophe was asked to rule as a “name-only” president, with no real legal powers. Christophe, understanding this clearly, decides to secede Haiti and become to the president of the North. In 1811, he declares himself king and rules as King Henri I until his suicide in 1820. 

anonymous asked:

Hello! Just a question, I heard in class that Haiti had a very good land policy in the 19th century (one of the best in the region), is that true ?

Hello :) Hmmm I believe what your teacher was referring to was probably the fact that hacienda owners in Latin America just began to have bigger and bigger slots of land  (latifundia) over time, whereas, in Haiti, land would increasingly be divided and redistributed to (“common”) people. in this respect, I believe she or he was talking about Alexandre Pétion’s republic in the South (1807-1818) and his policies. (But in all fairness, this measure was partly done because as a mulatto, Pétion could not introduce a coercive work system like Henri Christophe in the North, yet, he needed a way to gain revenues for the government, so he decided to give away land somewhat more freely to recollect tax revenues from it.)

So in the short run, this was revolutionary, especially for a country of the region and it did keep a lot of peasants satisfy. 

Hope this was helpful! :3 (Good God, I feel like i say this every time.)