Charlemagne, Joseph Emmanuel ( Manno Chalmay)
- Gage Averill
- and Kevin F. Mason
was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 14 April 1948. His mother was Euchariste Charlemagne from Léogâne, and his father (whom he never knew) was Denis Barnave from Les Cayes. Often referred to as Manno Chalmay, using his Kreyòl (Creole) nickname and the Kreyòl orthography of his last name, he was raised by his aunt Antonia Charlemagne (his mother’s younger sister) in the neighborhood around the Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines (then called “Grand Rue”) in what he calls an “urban lakou,” a collective housing settlement of several families, such as would be common in the countryside. He attended Catholic elementary schools but listened to the music of laborers singing betiz, obscenely humorous lyrics intended to entertain, critique, or rebuke. Manno experienced firsthand the violence surrounding the overthrow of President Paul Magloire as a child in 1956 which led to the dictatorship of François Duvalier an event that shaped ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.