It’s been 217 years since Toussaint died of cold, exposure, and neglect on April 7, 1803, at the Fort de Joux, on a high hilltop in the Doubs, France. He’d been arrested treacherously in Haiti by a French ally, and the French then had him transported across the Atlantic on the French frigate Créole, after his arrest in Haiti.
A plantain leaf, some plastic, and a piece of nylon string, and the Haitian market woman, top, trying to ward off COVID-19, has managed to duplicate part of the 17th-Century costume designed to protect medical men from the plague.
Who is Baby Doc’s friend? The man on the right in this picture looks very familiar to me. Clearly he outlasted Duvalier in Port-au-Prince because I would not recall the face of someone who fled along with Jean-Claude. It’s not Baby Doc’s most trusting face. Who can identify the smiling mystery man?
History sometimes gets turned on its head, as it did last week when Dany Laferrière was inducted into the Académie Française. Laferrière was elected to this odd but august institution in December, 2013, so the induction was not a surprise, but still: amazing. You can be sure that not a French person living in Haiti in the early days of the slave colony, or in the centuries after, imagined that a true son of Haiti would ever be elected and inducted into Richelieu’s exclusive bastion of elite, supereducated, well spoken (no: perfectly spoken) Francophones.