This article seeks to analyze Frederick Douglass’ responses to U.S. empire formation in Santo Domingo, between 1870-1872, and in Haiti, between 1889-1891. As U.S. Minister to Haiti and as Assistant Secretary of U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant’s commission to annex the Dominican Republic, Douglass fully supported the virtues of U.S. expansion and U.S. Pan-Americanism as long as it promoted effective and egalitarian development in Caribbean and Latin American nations. However, Douglass opposed U.S. empire if it perpetuated U.S. notions of racial domination. His ideas on these subjects shifted over time, and, as I argue, proved to be linked to the progress and hardships of African American life in the U.S. South. Inevitably, this research highlights the political challenges and contradictions of Frederick Douglass, a commited abolitionist, intellectual and diplomat, who fought to remain loyal to race and nation.
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“The trees fall from time to time, but the voice of the forest never loses its power. Life begins.”
Jacques Alexis, Les Arbres Musiciens (Paris, 1957)
Oral histories are a powerful tool in developing historical understanding
Oral history offers an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps in traditional research with personal accounts of historically significant events or simply life in a specific place and time. Oral histories do more than provide charming details to dry historical accounts. In fact, oral histories help others recapture lived experiences that are not written down in traditional sources.
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" Bwa pi wo di li wè lwen, men grenn pwomennen di li wè pi lwen pase l "
The tallest tree says that it sees far, but the seed that travels says that it sees even further.
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