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  • Writer's pictureKamille D. Whittaker

Final Day in Barbados: Bussa's Rebellion

Very early in the text “Intellectual Warfare” the late Jacob Carruthers wrote about how Jamaican-born Dutty Boukman made his way to Haiti in 1791 to incite the insurrection in Saint-Domingue that ignited what we call the Haitian Revolution. What inspired me even moreso, however, were the ripples from this revolution, and, specifically, the medium that was used to channel it through time and space. In Barbados, in 1816, several of the enslaved Africans who could read and speak English, such as Nanny Grigg, had access to English-written newspapers from which they learned about what was happening in the Diaspora, namely Haiti, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. After reading about the successful Haitian uprising in the paper, she advised her comrades, one of which was a man named Bussa (shown), the namesake of the Bussa Rebellion, to “set fire like they did in St. Domingo.” In that very moment – the press became a liberation tool. Fitting: "The past," Edouard Glissant wrote, "to which we were subjected, which has yet emerged as history for us but that is, however, obsessively present.”


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