“ …the story of migrations and connections between Haiti and Jamaica in the nineteenth century which, though little-known and much smaller than twentieth-century migration, were very important. After emancipation from slavery in the British Caribbean in 1838, Jamaica was more attractive to migrating Haitians. This migration was fairly continuous. In Kingston they worked, cultivated friendships, traveled around the island, married Jamaicans, raised children, and made new lives for themselves. When they returned to Haiti, as many did, they carried these experiences with them. In turn, the interactions connected the two islands and over time Haiti became a site of Jamaican migration in the nineteenth century… the Caribbean was not as divided as we often think. We need to revise how we perceive island relations. Travel between the islands was much easier than it is nowadays. Migrations more tangibly connected the islands and made people there more aware of their neighbors. Take for instance the long-standing view that post-Revolutionary Haiti was a threat to the political stability of its neighbors who feared its influence and export. While this may have been a perpetual feature of colonial and elite discourse, the presence of Haitians in Jamaica and vice versa challenge the perception of successful campaigns to isolate the islands from one another. Haiti represented much more than an endless series of revolutions and dictatorships. It also offered opportunities that could be tapped by the freedpeople from the British islands who went there or the middle-class merchants who organized business networks between the islands. Over several decades these migrations led to the formation of lasting networks that superseded island or imperial boundaries.
Michael J. Smith
Migrations and Microhistories: An interview with historian Matthew J. Smith (thepublicarchive.com)
“ Vanity only requires a mirror but arrogance always requires another person.
— Al ghazali (via suhblahym)