By the 1860s Europe seethed with hatred for Haiti. It kept failing to gain control! But a high-profile murder case would give them fodder for their hatred – and today this remnant of white retaliation STILL influences the nation’s reputation.
The embittered colonizers cast Haitians as animals who plundered, rutted, and ran naked in wild abandon. Haiti was able to freely rule itself, but what would happen if Black people in other places tried to do the same?
Then something awful happened.
In 1864, a small group of Vodou practitioners was found guilty of murdering and eating the remains of a 12-year-old girl. The Bizoton Affair, as it was called, was a poorly put together case with questionable evidence. So why did it become so well-known and important to Haiti’s image?
White writers used it to connect cannibalism, Vodou, and Black freedom – and label us as evil, dark and uncivilized. Though no transcripts of the case exist today, the effect of tying Haiti’s independence to lies about Black people still remains.
The Bizoton Affair serves as a warning to us. In our fight for freedom from white supremacy, we must control our own narratives, tell our own stories, and make sure our culture is passed down – especially when it comes to our spiritual practices! What stories are sacred to your faith?
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