In the following video, Gaffield navigates a history wrought with slavery, colonialism, racial stereotyping, and global power politics, revealing how her book answers the question: What happened after the Haitian revolution? (running time 2:19).
Dessalines’s abilities and successes have been “silenced” in order to cast him as a bad apple in the (now) celebrated Haitian Revolution that changed the course of modern history. This oversimplified version of Dessalines as a revolutionary and state leader ignores his political achievements and reduces the Haitian Revolution to a palatable and whitewashed event during the Age of Revolution. It mirrors a reluctance to study the years after the Declaration of Independence. The revolution did not produce a democratic republic based on universalist principles of freedom and equality.