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Haitian Independence and the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora

Written by Catherine R Peters |

Over seventy years ago in January 1952, Derek Walcott’s Henri Christophe opened in London. The Saint Lucian poet and playwright attended the play a week before he turned twenty-two. This London performance featured many students who would become celebrated in Caribbean culture, art, and politics. Assembling at a theatre within easy walking distance of both Buckingham Palace and Westminster, they dramatised the early years of Haitian independence. In defiance of institutions that had overseen their own colonisation for hundreds of years, these men narrated the political struggle that ensued after the deaths of three prominent Haitian leaders: Toussaint Louverture in 1803, Jean-Jacques Dessalines in 1806, and Henri Christophe in 1820.