BPL celebrates Haitian Independence with exhibitions, panel talk

Toussaint L'Ouverture cut-out in the Haitian ParadeToussaint L'Ouverture cut-out in the Haitian ParadeAn exhibition featuring artworks that honor Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture is on display at the Mattapan Branch, located at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue, through July 18. On Tuesday, May 27, a reception will be held from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mattapan Branch to celebrate the exhibition. The reception includes poetry readings, testimonials, and light refreshments.

At the Central Library in Copley Square, located at 700 Boylston Street, the exhibition The Soul of a Man: Toussaint Louverture & the Haitian Slave Revolt opens in the Rare Books Lobby on Tuesday, June 17, and runs through September 30 of this year. The Central Library exhibition tells the compelling story of Toussaint Louverture, a leader of the armed resistance against colonization and slavery and his significant role in the future of a free Haiti.

"Boston Public Library welcomes researchers, visitors, and academics to view the materials that played a critical role in the freedom and development of Haiti," said Susan Glover, Keeper of Special Collections.
A panel discussion and slideshow featuring Toussaint Louverture's historical impact and his influence on the abolitionist movement and popular culture in the United States will be held on Tuesday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in Rabb Lecture Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square. Panelists include Boston Public Library Trustee and State Representative Byron Rushing, Dr. Marc Prou of the University of Massachusetts, Professor Patricia Hills of Boston University, and moderators Marie St. Fleur and Dr. Nesly Metayer. Representatives from the Boston City Council, the NAACP, and State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry will join the panel for special remarks.

"The panelists will offer a glimpse of little known but important facts connecting the U.S. to Haiti and further validate the historical bonds between the Haitian Revolution and New England abolitionists," said Charlot Lucien, one of the organizers for Haitian-Americans United Inc.

The Central Library exhibition draws on Boston Public Library's vast collection of Haitian and West Indies materials which includes 10,000+ books, manuscripts, and letters dating from 1714-1916 and features a copy of the Code Henry, which was issued in 1812 and codifies the civil and criminal laws of Haiti. The collection documents the colonial rule of Saint-Domingue, the slave insurrection, the beginning of Haitian self-rule, and the development of Haiti, the first black republic in the world. The Rare Books Lobby is located on the third floor of the McKim Building at the Central Library in Copley Square. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.bpl.org/exhibitions.

These exhibitions and programs are the result of a collaboration between Haitian-Americans United Inc., Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts, and Boston Public Library. The Haitian community has a strong presence in Massachusetts, with 80,000 members, and constitutes the third largest Haitian community in the country.