Toussaint Louverture: Repensar un Icono
Editor: Mariana Past
Editor: Natalie M. Léger
Translator: David González
Translator: Jorge Luis Hernández
Drawing impetus from the perpetual impulse that exists within hemispheric American cultural thought to explore as well as contest Toussaint’s iconic figuration and status, this collection seeks to both speak to the seminal creative and intellectual importance of Toussaint, as idea, and to further the scholastic discussion Toussaint fosters regarding revolution, decolonization and New World futurity. An afflatus of thought, Toussaint, like the nation he did not live to see, inspirits a regional urge to think through and beyond the Americas’ collective enchainment in a neo-colonial, anti-black (and hence, anti-life) world. Toussaint, quite simply, compels artistic and intellectual contemplation and as such continues, as this collection attests, to be an important point of departure for critical grapplings with lived existence, past and present. Carried by the artistic and intellectual musing he inspires, the essays here powerfully underscore how Toussaint remains an enduring ideational maker of the daring to be free and the immense weight (ideological and otherwise) that such an effort requires of the mind, body and spirit. Whether thought to be a radical anti-colonial revolutionary or a revolutionary too conditioned by the West to be radical, Toussaint’s critical importance to New World cultural thought is immensely telling of how “the trunk of the tree of liberty of the Blacks in St-Domingue… spring[s] back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep,” sparking, as they have, the Americas’ collective commitment to the possibility of revolutionary success and the region’s concurrent fascination with the man, the myth and the idea that is Toussaint.
[i] Following his deportation to France in 1802, Toussaint boldly stated: “In overthrowing me … you have only cut down the trunk of the tree of liberty of the Blacks in Saint Domingue: it will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep” (Bell 265).