Haitian Monument unveiled in Savannah

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Haitian Monument unveiled in Savannah

Post by Serge » Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:12 pm

Monument To Haitian Soldiers Unveiled In Savannah
(CBS4) SAVANNAH, GA A Miami-based historical group is celebrating a new monument to the American Revolution in Savannah, Georgia.

The Haitian American Historical Society spent the past seven years lobbying for support of a monument to more than 500 Haitian free blacks who fought in the Revolutionary War during the siege of Savannah.

In 2005, the city approved it and Monday four life-size bronze statues were dedicated.

"It means pride, like today to be a Haitian it means freedom," said Guerline Dguisan who moved to the U.S. from Haiti 17 years ago. "To be the person that God wanted me to be and today is a historical moment to be a Haitian where our forefathers had fought the fight for the freedom that we have today. It makes me proud,"

The Miami group is hoping to raise $250-thousand to finish two additional soldier statues.

Haiti's role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride for Haitians.

"Well as you know we were the first Black colony to gain our independence," said Patrick Valme of the Haitian American Historical Society. "It's a hell of a job to fight for your country and for this city today that means a lot for the Haitian community and a lot for the Savannah community."

After the war, Haitian veterans soon led their own rebellion that won Haiti's independence from France in 1804

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Haitian Monument unveiled in Savannah

Post by Serge » Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:15 pm

Haitians in U.S. Revolution Get Monument
By RUSS BYNUM – 1 day ago

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Haitians learn it in school, but it's virtually unknown in the U.S.: In the Revolutionary War's bloody siege of Savannah, hundreds of Haitian soldiers were there for the colonies.

That contribution to American independence has been honored with a monument dedicated Monday in Savannah's Franklin Square. Life-size bronze statues of four soldiers now stand atop a granite pillar 6 feet tall and 16 feet in diameter.

"This is a testimony to tell people we Haitians didn't come from the boat," said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Miami-based Haitian American Historical Society, one of many Haitian Americans who came to Savannah for the dedication. "We were here in 1779 to help America win independence. That recognition is overdue."

In October 1779, a force of more than 500 Haitian free blacks joined American colonists and French troops in an unsuccessful push to drive the British from Savannah in coastal Georgia.

More than 300 allied soldiers were gunned down charging British fortifications Oct. 9, making the siege the second-most lopsided British victory of the war after Bunker Hill.

Haiti's role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride. After returning home from the war, Haitian veterans led their own rebellion that won Haiti's independence from France in 1804.

"It's a huge deal," said Philippe Armand, vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, who flew to Savannah from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. "All the Haitians who have gone to school know about it from the history books."

Fils-Aime's group has spent the past seven years lobbying Savannah leaders to support the monument, which the city approved in 2005, and raising more than $400,000 in private donations to pay for it.

Fils-Aime said the historical society still needs $250,000 to finish two additional soldier statues.

As it stands now, the monument features statues of two Haitian troops with rifles raised on either side of a fellow soldier who has fallen with a bullet wound to his chest.

The fourth statue, a drummer boy, depicts a young Henri Christophe, who served in Savannah as an adolescent and went on to become Haiti's first president — and ultimately king — after it won independence.

It's unclear exactly what role Haitian troops played in the battle at Savannah because Haitian records from that era were destroyed by fire in the 1830s, said Scott Smith, director of Savannah's Coastal Heritage Society, which is dedicating a park on the battlefield site Tuesday.

But surviving records show 545 Haitian soldiers sailed to Savannah in 1779 — making them the largest military unit of the Savannah battle. The Haitians are also believed to have been the largest black unit to serve in the American Revolution

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Not wanting to rain on the parade but...

Post by jafrikayiti » Sat Oct 13, 2007 10:01 pm

related discussion...

No Haitians at Savannah.
I agree with the idea of erecting a statue for the French Volunteers of Saint-Domingue, under the command of Comte d'Estaing, for their participation in the siege of Savannah but, as a professor of Haitian history, I object to the use of the word Haitians to refer to those soldiers. They were free, indeed, but they did NOT represent Haiti or the future Haitians. They wanted to prove that they were French citizens and as such ready to shed their blood in a war fought by an ally of France.

Furthermore, the United States was a country where slavery was still legal. Would any "Haitian" take the side of a power where Africans were in bondage?

I do not want to rain on anybody's parade. The two mayors are obviously men who want to pay tribute to those volunteers. A good way to do it would be to honor "The Volunteers of Saint-Domingue (future Haiti)".

Henry Christophe's presence at the siege of Savannah is NOT a fact historically proven.

Max Manigat, June 2002 [/quote]

[quote]“Among the blacks fighting on the American side were a large number of troops brought to the continent by the French. These included Henri Christophe, a 12-year-old who was wounded in the fight before Savannah. He later become the liberator and then king of Haiti.”

“Blacks In The Revolution” (see New York Freedom Trail web page:)

If the above statement is historically true, one would be justified to ask how many of these so-called free people of colour were merely black children being used as human shield by coward white generals?

Any more than the Senegalese who fought to help liberate Europe during the so-called “World” War II, were they indeed French nationals?

What law recognized these black children and adults to be French nationals? And what did this presumed French nationality afford them in terms of rights and obligations?

As far as I can ascertain, little Henri Christophe, born in captivity (please correct me, if needed) on one of the islands stolen by English-speaking whites, ended up in Savannah with the same nationality he has known since birth: “BLACK BOY WITH NO LAND TO CALL HIS OWN”. This is the historical fact. Is it not his realisation of this fact that prompted him to join all other conscious black men and women who, like him, were trying to survive and reverse the tribulations brought upon them by White Supremacy? He decided to stand up, fight the monster and help create for his people a nation, a true home in the Black Republic of Haiti. Therefore, it is on January 1, 1804, having beaten international white supremacy, that these courageous Africans became HAITIANS. Before that day, one can only refer to these men and women as either (Mandingue, Yoruba, Caplaou, Ibo, Congo or simply Africans stolen away from Africa)...

Jafrikayiti, June 2002[/quote]

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/ ... -list1.htm

Please note that, while it has taken Amerikkka several hundreds of years, plus the hard sweat and resources of the very decendants of these Africans who helped her gain her independance from fellow -slavery-enriched daddy England..... there are countless statues commemorating all kinds of white soldiers who participated in the same battle of Savannah. These statues are visible in Paris as they are in AmeriKKKa.

Also, who is going to spend money to go visit this new monument? and who will be collecting? I hope the Haitians who spend so much effort and resources on this endeavor have also given thought to these matters.


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