The black republic the infl uence of the haitian revolution on northern black political consciousness, 1816–1862

Leslie M. Alexander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


On August 30, 1824, Peter Williams Jr., an esteemed leader in New York City’s Black community stood before a group of Black migrants as they prepared to embark on a powerful journey: An exodus from the United States, their land of birth, to Haiti, a new land of hope. “You are going to a good country,” he exclaimed, “where a dark complexion will be no disadvantage; where you will enjoy true freedom” For Williams and his supporters, this was a momentous occasion, when the first “pioneers” set sail from the United States destined for a new homeland where they believed they would find liberty, justice, equality, and citizenship – not only for themselves, but for their children and the entire race. As Williams bade them farewell, he concluded: “Go to that highly favored, and as yet only land, where the sons of Africa appear as a civilized, well ordered, and flourishing nation. Go, remembering that the happiness of millions of the present and future generations depends upon your prosperity”. 2 As Williams’ closing remarks revealed, many African Americans in the early nineteenth century viewed Haiti as a beacon of hope, a land full of vitality and potential where people of African descent could build a new republic, free from the bonds of slavery and racism. Enthusiasm about the budding nation was particularly strong among free Black Northerners, who were inspired by Haiti’s status as an independent Black republic. Their excitement grew in the 1820s after the country’s political leaders began espousing early notions of Pan-Africanism; the Haitian government openly promoted racial solidarity, and urged African Americans to migrate to Haiti where they could help create a powerful, autonomous Black nation. As the exodus from New York City demonstrated, the Haitian emigration movement blossomed during thisera and thousands of African Americans fled the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHaitian History
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781135766481
ISBN (Print)9780415808675
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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