I went yesterday to a talk given by Randall Robinson at Harvard Law School, based on his latest book, An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President.

Robinson, best known as the author of The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks and The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other, was introduced by Professor Charles Ogletree, executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.

Robinson spoke passionately about Haiti, focusing on how consistently negative U.S. foreign policy has been towards that tiny country over the last two centuries. I’m not sure that I accept all of what Robinson argued, but he made an excellent case for Haiti on the grounds of historical wrongs and the need for justice and freedom.

I was at the talk with my cousin Holly, who also appears in Traces of the Trade, her husband Bill, and guests of theirs from Haiti. These visitors are touring the U.S., performing a play called “Three Innocents and a Spirit,” about the history of slavery and the need for global healing.

(Full disclosure: Robinson spends several paragraphs in chapter one of The Reckoning quoting from Katrina and Traces of the Trade, using the example of the DeWolf family to suggest the full extent to which American fortunes were made from the coerced labor of African slaves.)

Leave a Reply