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Hilary Jones

missionary, parish priest, and religious educator, was born in Senegal on 16 April 1814, the same day that Napoleon Bonaparte left France for exile on the Island of Elba. Two years later Britain ended its occupation of Senegal and returned the fortified island territories of Gorée and Saint-Louis to France. The island of Saint-Louis du Sénégal, founded by France in 1659 as a strategic site in the period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, gained a reputation as a cosmopolitan Atlantic port city shaped by patterns of intermarriage between African women (Signares) and European administrators, merchants, and soldiers. The son of Marie Monté, a “free mulâtresse,” and Pierre Boilat, member of the merchant marines, David Boilat came from the small but growing class of mixed race inhabitants who closely identified with the Catholic Church and sought the privileges of French education despite their relative isolation from French culture.

In 1816 ...

Article

Garvey Lundy

Jean Price-Mars is considered the foremost Haitian intellectual of the twentieth century. Born on 15 October 1876, in Grande Rivière-du-Nord (Haiti), he died on 1 March 1969, at the age of 93 in Pétionville (Haiti). In a life spanning nearly a century, Jean Price-Mars was a physician, public official, diplomat, ethnologist, and historian of Haiti’s sociological and intellectual development, expounding the contribution of Haiti and Haitians to the cultures of the Americas, and above all a spokesman calling on Haitians to take pride in their indigenous culture and to acknowledge the African roots of their culture.

Price Mars was born to Jean Eléomont Mars and Fortuna Delcour Michel He was only six years old when his mother died of smallpox After his mother s passing Price Mars was warmly guarded by his maternal grandmother At an early age it was decided that Price Mars would be educated at ...

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Richard Watts

Jean Price-Mars was born in Grande Rivière du Nord, Haiti. After studying medicine, anthropology, and political science in Haiti and Paris, he joined the Haitian diplomatic corps. It was through this work that Price-Mars discovered his oratorical skills, giving a great number of lectures on Haitian culture and politics in the 1910s and 1920s that were gathered in his first published works, La Vocation de l'élite (1919), Ainsi parla l'Oncle (1928), and Une étape de l'évolution haïtienne (1929). Price-Mars subsequently split his time between active politics and more intellectual pursuits throughout the rest of his life. During the tumultuous middle of the century, he remained close to Haiti's ever-changing power élite, running twice for president and being appointed ambassador to Paris by François Duvalier in 1957.

More significantly Price Mars continued to write on the history of Haiti and on the ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Gabonese Roman Catholic priest and scholar, was born on 19 June 1871 in Libreville in present-day Gabon to Robert Bruce Napoleon Walker and Agnourogoulé Ikoutou. Ikoutou was a female Mpongwe entrepreneur. R. B. N. Walker was an English resident of Gabon. Raponda Walker’s father, an amateur scholar and trader, took him to England for several years in the mid-1870s. After the boy returned to Libreville by 1877, his Mpongwe mother raised him. He had already learned some English, French, and Omyènè, the dominant language of the Gabonese coast and the commercial lingua franca of the entire colony, before the age of ten. Raponda Walker was so inspired by his Catholic missionary teachers that he chose in 1886 to enter the seminary and to become ordained His mother opposed his decision to become a priest on the grounds he would not be able to form his own family Although ...

Article

Richard Watts

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to upper-middle-class mixed-race parents, Roumain attended excellent schools in both Haiti and Europe, where he acquired remarkable language skills (he spoke English, German, and Spanish, in addition to French and Creole) and a profound understanding of European cultures. At a young age, he rejected his parents' cosmopolitanism, returning to Haiti from Paris in 1927 to help found La Revue Indigène. This journal, which was instrumental in the development of a specifically Haitian literary aesthetic rooted in traditional peasant life, published many of Roumain's early poems. Roumain wrote prodigiously and fearlessly during this period, publishing two collections of novellas in 1931 (La Proie et l'ombre and Les Fantoches) that denounced the greed of Haiti's ruling class.

In 1934 Roumain was elected secretary-general of the Haitian Communist Party, which he had helped establish. That same year, Haitian president Sténio Vincent alarmed by the forceful ...

Article

John Wright

magistrate, native administrator, and collector of Zulu oral histories in South Africa, was born on 30 January 1868 in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of the colony of Natal. He was the eldest son of Martinus Stuart (1841–1881) and his wife Mary, née Taylor (1846–1918). He was educated at Hilton College in Natal and St John’s College, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex.

In 1888 Stuart took up a position as clerk and interpreter in isiZulu in the civil service of the recently annexed colony of Zululand. Over the next eleven years he held various administrative posts in Zululand and Swaziland. From 1899 to 1901 he acted as magistrate in several centers in Natal before being appointed assistant magistrate in Durban, the colony’s biggest town.

By this time Stuart was devoting more and more of his time and energies to the project which he called his Idea of making himself a leading authority on Zulu customs ...