The history of marronage features prominently in the history of Haiti, the first black Republic. Today it continues to raise very sensitive questions of memory. Nevertheless, the sources of this history remain little known and often inaccessible to the general public. This is the case of fugitive slave notices published in the colony’s principal newspaper, Affiches américaines, between 1766 and 1790. A racist and disparaging source that refers to slaves as mere lost objects or stray animals, the fugitive slave notice is nonetheless one of the most important sources for understanding the way slaves in the Saint-Domingue colony reclaimed their bodies and asserted their right to dignity, even temporarily. Historians who write the history of slavery—and more generally that of the oppressed and marginalized—have no choice but to work on the sources written by slave masters and to deconstruct their underlying racial ideology. They are often the only traces remaining to tell of those who refused the dehumanization of slavery. What would be known today about Narcisse if there had not remained a notice published in June 1776? More than 10 000 slaves like him are described in the main newspaper of the colony, which in 1804 would become Haiti. This site brings them back to life for the first time.
Initiated by Jean-Pierre Le Glaunec,
this site is produced in collaboration
with Léon Robichaud.
The layout and visual concept
is by Paquin Design.
© Université de Sherbrooke