Keynote talk: legacy

of Haiti’s revolution

by former slaves

LEWISTON – Scholar Alex Dupuy, professor of sociology and Latin American studies at Wesleyan College, will give the keynote for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Bates College.

For the day, classes at the college are canceled and special programs scheduled with an emphasis on the theme “The Haitian Revolution: The Bicentennial and Its Legacy.” On Jan. 1, 1804, former slaves of the colony of St. Domingue defeated a French expeditionary army to become an independent nation.

Dupuy is scheduled to speak at 10:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, in the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building.

MLK Day events at Bates start with social scientist Georges Fouron of the State University of New York at Stonybrook, speaking about “The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Revolutionary Movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries and Beyond” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, Pettengill Hall, G52.

The big read-in

The college co-sponsors an annual MLK Day Read-In with Lewiston-Auburn College. Faculty, staff, students and members of the community will share a picture book with Martel School students in grades four to six at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16. Those interested in volunteering should e-mail [email protected] or call 786-8273.

On the eve of the holiday, at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, a memorial service will be held in the college chapel on College Street. The Rev. James Foster Reese Sr. will deliver a sermon, “King: The Principal and The Principles.” The service will include musical performances by the Deansmen, a Bates’ a cappella group, and sophomore Subira Gordon of Port Antonio, Jamaica.

On Jan. 19, student debaters from Bates, Morehouse and Spelman colleges will argue the topic “U.S. Immigration Policy: Cuban Cinderellas, Haitian Stepchild.” The debaters will include Morehouse senior Oluwbusayo “Tope” Folarin, who was named one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars in November. They will be introduced at 9 a.m. in Chase Hall Lounge, 56 Campus Ave. The debate begins at 9:30 a.m.

Morehouse was Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater. One of its longtime presidents was a Bates graduate and accomplished debater, Benjamin Mays, of the class of 1920. Mays, a lifelong adviser to the civil rights leader, gave the eulogy for the assassinated King in 1968.

84 years later

Dupuy’s keynote will be “Toussaint L’Overture and the Haitian Revolution: Race and Questions in the Americas.” It will include links between the historic Haitian revolution and contemporary issues of race relations.

The United States opposed Haitian independence until 1888 when it established diplomatic relations with the island nation, finally dispatching abolitionist Frederick Douglass as its first ambassador one year later. The U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s drew on the legacy of L’Overture, hero of the Haitian revolution.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and an American citizen, Dupuy wrote “Haiti in the New World Order: The Limits of the Democratic Revolution” and “Haiti in the World Economy: Class, Race and Underdevelopment Since 1700.” Dupuy often provides commentary on Haitian current events for the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and National Public Radio.

A member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts at North Dartmouth from 1979 to 1982, Dupuy then joined the faculty at Wesleyan. He received his doctorate from the State University of New York at Binghamton, his M.A. from Brandeis University and B.A. from the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

On Monday, Jan. 19, a series of concurrent workshops hosted by various academic departments begin at 1:15, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. in Pettengill Hall. The workshops will focus on the Haitian revolution, its meaning and the island nation’s present situation.

One will focus on St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center’s Haitian Project. For more information about the workshops, people can call 207-786-6400 or see a complete listing at www.bates.edux46809.xml

All events are open to the public free of charge.


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