Black History SPOTLIGHT: Dutty Boukman

Black History Spotlight: Dutty Boukman

Dutty Boukman

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

Early Life

Dutty Boukman (year unknown) born in Senegambia (now the nations of Gambia and Senegal).Before,he was captured in his homeland,he had built a reputation as a respected Muslim cleric. While in Senegambia he would eventually get kidnapped by slavers and transported to the slave colonies in the Caribbean to forcibly work as a slave. He would first be taken to Jamaica, and then to Saint-Dominque (modern-day) Haiti.

Life As A Slave

Once in Haiti, Boukman would risk his life by attempting to teach other slaves how to read, and he would also combine his Quranic knowledge and his knowledge of traditional African religion to become a Haitian vodou priest. Some historians believe the French name of Boukman, derived from his English nickname of “book man”, as in “man of the book”, a term used in many Muslim countries.

Revolutionary Leader

Boukman would eventually be sold to a French plantation owner, who would first select him to be a commadeur (slave driver), he would later transitioned to being a coach driver. According to many scholars, Boukman and a Haitian woman named Cecile Fatiman) a vodou priestess would perform a religious ceremony at Bois Caiman, in August 1791. This ceremony would led to the 1791 Haitian slave uprising, which many historians consider to be the beginning of the Haitian revolution. Boukman would use his charismatic personality and leadership skills to help lead the slave revolt in the Le Cap-Francais region in the north of the French colony. Sadly, he would be killed by French colonial troops and planters, only a few months into the slave revolt. The French would decapitate Boukman and display the fallen freedom fighter’s head in an attempt to intimidate revolters by showing them the head of their messianic leader. The tactic would ultimately, fail and Haiti would become the only successful self-liberated slave rebellion in the world, when they defeated the powerful Napoleonic French empire in 1804. Since, Haiti was a very rich colony for the French, that defeat would force the now economically-struggling French to sell its massive amounts of land to the United States, this would be known as the Louisiana purchase.

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Ahmed Sekou Toure was born on January 9, 1922, in the French colony of French Guinea. He came from a very aristocratic family, his great-grandfather Samory Toure was a muslim Mandinka (Mandingo ) king, who founded the Wassoulou Empire from (1861-1890) in areas that are now part of modern-day Guinea and Mali. Samory resisted French Colonial rule, until he was captured in 1891, sadly he would die while in exile in the country of Gabon.

In 1945, while working for the French Guinea postal service, Toure began to get involved in politics, when he and others founded the postal workers union.

Seven years later, he would become head of the Guinean Democratic Party, the party’s main goal was to end European rule and colonialism on the continent of Africa.

In 1956, Toure would organize a trade union between African countries under French colonial rule.

While in France, Toure would also work as a representative for African groups fighting for independence from their colonial oppressor.

Toure would go on to win independence for Guinea on October 2, 1958.

The rest of Francophone Africa would follow suit and gain independence two years later in 1960.