#OnThisDay 1863 leader of the Haitian Revolution and military genius Toussaint L'Ouverture died imprisoned. He led the succcessful revolutions to drive the French, the English and the Spanish from the island of Haiti.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toussaint…
"Born enslaved in the French colony of Saint Dominque, L’Ouverture was the eldest son of Gaou Guinon, an African prince who was captured by slavers. The French Code Noir (Black Code) legalized the harsh treatment of human beings as property."
His godfather taught him to read and write. Impressed by L’Ouverture, the manager of the Breda plantation on which L’Ouverture was born, allowed him unlimited access to his personal library. By the time he was 20, he spoked 3 languages + was an excellent horseman.
"More importantly, L’Ouverture secured his freedom from de Libertad even as he continued to manage his former owner’s household personnel and to act as his coachman. Over the course of the next eighteen years, L’Ouverture settled into life there, getting married + bec. a father.
"The “Night of Fire” - when enslaved ppl revolted by setting fire to plantation houses and fields and killing whites, convinced the 48-year-old L’Ouverture that he should join the fight. He made sure his wife + children were safe by sending them to the US."
Inspired by French Revolutionary ideology and angered by generations of abuse at the hands of white planters, the initial slave uprising was quelled within several days, but ongoing fighting among enslaved, free Black ppl + and planters continued.
L’Ouverture joined the slave insurgency and quickly developed a reputation first as a capable soldier and then as military secretary to Georges Biassou, one of the insurgency’s leaders. When leadership chose to ally itself with Spain against France, L’Ouverture followed.
"Threatened by Spain and Britain’s attempts to control the island, the French acted to preserve its colonial rule in 1794 by securing the loyalty of the Black ppl by granting citizenship rights and freedom to all Blacks within the empire."
"Following France’s decision to emancipate the slaves, L’Ouverture allied with France against Spain, and from 1794 to 1802, he was the dominant political and military leader in the French colony. "
"L’Ouverture led the French in ousting the British and then in capturing the Spanish controlled half of the island. By 1801, although Saint Dominque remained ostensibly a French colony, L’Ouverture was ruling it as an independent state."
Let's recap here. A former enslaved person led a revolution between 1791-1804, resulting in an entire COUNTRY of free Black people? Haiti is the only country where freedom of the enslaved was successfully taken by force. The US took notice . . .
Toussaint, as leader, also provides agricultural development, education, others. San Domingo prospers at Toussaint's powerful army keeps the peace (Reconstruction, anyone)? Napoleon rejected the Constituion Toussaint drew up, furious Toussaint felt he was his equal.
Napoleon wanted to push Haiti back into enslavement, back to plantations. Fresh from victoires in Egypt and Europe, he sent 24K troops to crush Haiti. Toussaint had faith in the equality and justice principles of France. His aide, Dessalines, didn't trust the French.
The rainy season brought yellow fever that wiped out the French, and the Black armies drove them toward the sea. The French wanted to negotiate a peace. Dessalines wanted to punish the French. Toussaint still believed in peace.

And was captured by the French.
As Toussaint was led in chains to prison, his aide, Jean Jacques Dessalines, learned a vital lesson - NEVER SURRENDER. It would be complete independence for Haiti - or DEATH. The Black Army, with a new fury and vengeance, systematically CRUSHED the French.
Napoleon, fearing the additional fury he would face in San Domingo if he were to have Toussaint executed, sentenced him instead to a slow, painful death in a dark cell with food, water, clothes and wood rationed to where his health was constantly in peril. He died in 1803.
FIN/Six months later, led by Dessalines, the Black Army of San Domingo DEFEATED the French Army and established the independent nation of Haiti.

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7 Apr
#OnThisDay 1915 Eleanor Fagan, better known as Billie Holiday, was born in Philadelphia, PA, She poured her heart into each song, making each one her own with her distinct style. Here's a little more about Billie Holiday.

Source: biography.com/news/billie-ho…
Shelived a fascinating life filled with tremendous ups and downs. She managed to survive a difficult childhood — often left in the care of cold-hearted relatives and even spent time in a Catholic reform school before joining her mother in New York City.
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Who was William Monroe Trotter? Glad you asked.

Source: blackpast.org/african-americ…
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6 Apr
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Who was Matthew Henson? Glad you asked.

I first found out about this great explorer and discoverer when I was either 7 or 8, in a wonderful series of comic books, "Golden Legacy," focused on Black history. I don't know where I got the good sense to keep them over 50 years . . .
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Source: calendar.eji.org/racial-injusti…
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All it took was a white woman crying "rape."
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Source: calendar.eji.org/racial-injusti…
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"Three white cadets ambushed Cadet Whittaker, slashed his head and ears, burned his Bible, threatened his life and then left him in his underwear, tied to the bed and bleeding profusely."
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