Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Intro to Latin American Studies Students Provide Historical Context to Black Lives Matter Movement

July 12th, 2016

Partnering with the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, Tulane Service Learning students in Stone Center for Latin American Studies PhD Candidate, Sarah Fouts’ Introduction to Latin American Studies courses contributed to the research and design of the recently published New Orleans Black Workers Organizing History timeline. The timeline uses the Haitian Revolution as an impetus to these labor movements, starting with the 1811 Slave Rebellion in New Orleans in which over 500 enslaved people revolted against U.S. forces and local militias in Louisiana. Led by Charles, an organizer and enslaved laborer at the Deslonde plantation, the revolt began approximately thirty miles up river from New Orleans. In the late eighteenth century, the Deslonde family had been one of the many slave-holding families that fled the Haitian Revolution and took refuge in Louisiana, bringing with them their chattel property, which included Charles. The revolt was put down three days later with many of the participants killed by the local militia and federal troops. The uprising weakened the system of chattel slavery and inspired more revolts in the following years, helping set the stage for the Civil War and the eventual end to the system of legalized slavery.

Over the course of three semesters, seven students – Rachel Sausner, Isabella Viggiano, Aaron Geldner, Amanda Streiter, George Amrhein, Brittany Overacker, and Rachel Lewis – worked on the project. Jade Madrid at the Latin American Library conducted multiple archival methodology workshops with the students to help them conduct primary research from nineteenth and twentieth century historical newspapers. Aaron Geldner, a student with a background in design, helped develop the layout of the hard copy version of the timeline. Fouts’ courses utilized Henry Louis Gates’ film, Black in Latin America: Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the Transatlantic Slave Trade as launching points for discussion as well as articles on the removal of confederate monuments in New Orleans and the Black Lives Matter movement. Members of Stand with Dignity, a grassroots membership based organization of Black workers in New Orleans that functions as part of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, collected oral histories with local labor leaders, conducted research in the Amistad Research Center, and organized the official launch of the timeline on June 18, 2016 at the McKenna African American Museum.

Haiti + People
Arachu Castro
Senior Associate Research Fellow - Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America
Haiti + News