Dutty Boukman was the catalyst that began the African enslaved revolt and literally lit the fire that struck terror into the hearts of slaves and slave-masters alike. Late one night in August 1791, he held a voodoo ceremony at Bois Caiman that gave meaning/life to what became known as the Haitian Revolution, and inspired Toussaint L’Ouverture (known then as Pierre Dominique Toussaint) and others to resist slavery, and to fight for their freedom. Boukman was born in Jamaica and sold by his British slave-master to a French plantation owner. Though born a slave, he taught himself how to read. During slavery, an educated slave was a dangerous person in the eyes of the slave-master and most educated slaves were inspired by religion. He was transported
to France’s Pearl of the Antilles, Haiti, by his French master who put him to work first as a slave driver (a headman over other slaves) and then as a coach driver.
At a voodoo ceremony at the Bois Caïman, Bookman gathered a group of slaves and called for an uprising like no other. He exhorted them to resist the French rule that profited from slave labor and to take revenge against the French oppressors. “Fight for your freedom was the rallying call!” and according to historical notes and those who described the ritual, Boukman, in the role of a houngan (priest), prophesied of a resistance movement and revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue (the name of Haiti, at that time).
The God who created the earth, who created the sun that gives us light.
The God who holds up the ocean, who makes the thunder roar. Our God
who has ears to hear. You who are hidden in the clouds, who watch us from where you are. You see all that the white has made us suffer. The white
man’s god asks him to commit crimes. But the God within us wants to do good. Our God, who is so good, so just, He orders us to avenge our wrongs. It’s He who will direct our arms and bring us the victory. It’s He who will assist us.
We all should throw away the image of the white man’s god who is so pitiless. Listen to the voice for liberty that sings in all our hearts.
Boukman’s Prayer at the Bwa Kayiman Vodou ceremony, the August 14, 1791 call to action that launched the Haitian Revolution, which started on August 22, 1791. https://lasentinel.net/