Raise Your Heart, Raise Your Fist. We Owe Haiti Everything

5 min readDec 27, 2021

The Haitian Revolution liberated the United States and Latin America from Spain and France. Haiti inspired Greece to fight the Ottoman Empire. Say her name

Black people protesting and Haitian flag
Photo by Dorothy Mombrun from Pexels

I lived in Peru for nearly six years. Come to think of it, in all my time, I never heard anyone mention the word “Haiti.” I drummed with a group called Retumbayá. We often learned rhythms with African roots like samba, zamacueca, festejo, funk, and more. But no word about Haiti. Honestly, I never knew about Haiti’s connection to Peru until I watched Exterminate All The Brutes. I admit I was ignorant. When Raoul Peck (2021) spoke about how Latin American independence credits the Haitian Revolution, I dropped my popcorn bowl howling, “Why, in good gravy’s name, am I just hearing about this?” My eyes smarted in indignation.

I replayed the segment a few times to make sure I had heard right. And yes, I heard right. Latin America has Haiti to thank for its independence, and the United States has Haiti to thank for kicking Napoleon out of the Americas. The more I researched, I saw Greece is also indebted to Haiti for materially and spiritually supporting their fight against the Ottoman Empire (Wichmann, 2021).

Haiti defeated Napoleon, so why don’t we learn about this?

I’m no historian, but I know one thing. The conqueror controls history, and the powerful erase their defeat from history. Let’s be clear here. Napoleon was defeated by an intelligent, determined, high-minded group of black warriors who used guerrilla warfare and other tactics in the pursuit of liberty. They won. Napolean abolished slavery in France because of his defeat (Blakemore, 2018).

Napoleon was again defeated when he attempted to retake control of the newly free black republic. Epic fail. Yet again. So, why do we only hear about Napoleon in our textbooks as the great warrior and not General Toussaint L’Ouverture? We all know the answer.

It’s not pretty to think that the world’s war heroes fought to enslave others and were defeated by people that were forced into the social status of “slaves.” Peck (2021) narrates in his documentary,

“What happened in Haiti contradicts most of what the West has claimed about itself. The…


M.Laufer is a writer and therapist