Dutty Boukman

Dutty Boukman (Also known as "Boukman Dutty") (died 7 November 1791) was an early leader of the Haitian Revolution, enslaved in Jamaica and later in Haiti. He is considered to have been both a leader of maroons and vodou hougan (priest).[1]

According to some contemporary accounts Boukman alongside Cécile Fatiman, a Vodou mambo, presided over the religious ceremony at Bois Caïman, in August 1791, that served as the catalyst to the 1791 slave revolt which is usually considered the beginning of the Haitian Revolution.

Boukman was a key leader of the slave revolt in the Le Cap‑Français region in the north of the colony. He was killed by the French planters and colonial troops in 7 November 1791,[2][3] just a few months after the beginning of the uprising. The French then publicly displayed Boukman's head in an attempt to dispel the aura of invincibility that Boukman had cultivated.The fact that French authorities had to do this illutsrates the impact Boukman made on the views of Haitian people during this time.

Dutty Boukman
Died7 November 1791
Other namesBoukman Dutty
Known forCatalyst to the Haitian Revolution


Dutty Boukman was a self-educated slave born on the island of Jamaica. After he attempted to teach other slaves how to read, he was sold to a French plantation owner and placed as a commandeur (slave driver) and, later, a coach driver. His French name came from his English nickname, "Book Man," which some scholars, despite accounts suggesting that he was a Vodou houngan, have interpreted as meaning that he was a Muslim, since in many Muslim regions the term "man of the book" is a synonym for an adherent of the Islamic faith. It has been suggested that it is likely that Boukman "was a Jamaican Muslim who had a Quran, and that he got his nickname from this."[4] Others have suggested that Boukman may have practiced a syncretic blend of traditional African religion and a form of Abrahamic religion.[5] Boukman was killed by the French in November 1791.[6]

Ceremony at the Bois Caïman

According to some contemporaneous accounts, on or about 14 August 1791 Boukman presided over a ceremony at the Bois Caïman in the role of houngan (priest) together with priestess Cécile Fatiman. Boukman prophesied that the slaves Jean François, Biassou, and Jeannot would be leaders of a resistance movement and revolt that would free the slaves of Saint-Domingue. An animal was sacrificed, an oath was taken, and Boukman and the priestess exhorted the listeners to take revenge against their French oppressors and cast aside the image of the God of the oppressors." [7]

According to Gothenburg University researcher Markel Thylefors, "The event of the Bois Caïman ceremony forms an important part of Haitian national identity as it relates to the very genesis of Haiti."[8] This ceremony came to be characterized by various Christian sources as a "pact with the devil" that began the Haitian Revolution.[9]

According to the Encyclopedia of African Religion, "Blood from the animal was given in a drink to the attendees to seal their fates in loyalty to the cause of liberation of Saint-Domingue."[10] A week later, 1800 plantations had been destroyed and 1000 slaveholders killed.[11][12] Boukman was not the first to attempt a slave uprising in Saint-Domingue, as he was preceded by others, such as Padrejean in 1676, and François Mackandal in 1757. However, his large size, warrior-like appearance, and fearsome temper made him an effective leader and helped spark the Haitian Revolution.[13]

Legacy and references in popular culture

  • The band Boukman Eksperyans was named after him.
  • A fictionalized version of Boukman appears as the title character in American writer Guy Endore's novel Babouk, an anti-capitalist parable about the Haitian Revolution.
  • Haitians honored Boukman by admitting him into the pantheon of loa (guiding spirits).[14]
  • The Boukman ("Bouckmann") uprising is retold in the Lance Horner book The Black Sun.
  • "The Bookman" is one of several devil masquerade characters still performed in Trinidad Carnival.
  • Haitian community activist Sanba Boukman, assassinated on 9 March 2012, took his name from Boukman.
  • In the 2014 film Top Five, the main character, André Allen (played by Chris Rock), is in the midst of a promotional tour for a Boukman biopic called Uprize.[15]
  • In the Edwidge Danticat short story A Wall of Fire Rising, the character of Little Guy is cast as Boukman in his school play.
  • In Grimm (TV series), the episode titled "The Waking Dead" features a version of Boukman (referred as Baron Samedi), who is played by Reg E. Cathey.

Pat Robertson's "Pact with the Devil" allegation

In the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, veteran Christian radio and television personality Pat Robertson claimed that Haiti had been "cursed by one thing after another" since the late 18th century and, in an apparent reference to the Bois Caïman ceremony, revived the allegation that Haitians had sworn a "pact to the devil."[16][17] This view was criticized by urban legend expert Rich Buehler, who claimed that Robertson's statement was incorrect on a variety of historical points, and propagated a common claim that vodou is Satanic in nature.[18]

Several Mainline and evangelical[19] Christian voices criticized Robertson's remarks as misleading, untimely and insensitive.[20][21][22][23]


  1. ^ Edmonds, Ennis B.; Gonzalez, Michelle A. (2010-06-01). Caribbean Religious History: An Introduction. NYU Press. ISBN 9780814722503.
  2. ^ Girard, Philippe R. (2010). "Haitian Revolution". In Leslie, Alexander. Encyclopedia of African American History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851097692.
  3. ^ Poujol-Oriol, Paulette (2005). "Boukman". In Appiah, Kwame Antony; Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195170559.
  4. ^ Sylviane Anna Diouf and Sylviane Kamara. Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the AmericasNew York University Press, 1998, p. 153
  5. ^ Dubois, Laurent. Avengers of the New World (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 2004), 101.
  6. ^ Sylviane Anna Diouf, Servants of Allah p.152
  7. ^ Charles Arthur and Michael Dash (eds.) Libète: A Haiti Anthology (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1999), 36.
  8. ^ Thylefors, Markel (March 2009) "'Our Government is in Bwa Kayiman:' a Vodou Ceremony in 1791 and its Contemporary Signifcations" Archived 22 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Stockholm Review of Latin American Studies, Issue No. 4
  9. ^ Lowell Ponte Haiti: Victim of Clinton's Old Black Magic FrontPage Magazine 20 February 2004
  10. ^ Molefi Kete Asante and Ama Mazama. Encyclopedia of African religion, Volume 1 Sage Publications, p. 131.
  11. ^ Sylviane Anna Diouf, Servants of Allah p. 152
  12. ^ John Mason. African Religions in The Caribbean: Continuity and Change
  13. ^ John K. Thornton. I Am the Subject of the King of Congo: African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution. Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  14. ^ Haitian Bicentennial Committee Archived 26 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine (2004)
  15. ^ Orr, Niela. Critic's Notebook: Hollywood, Obama and the Boxing-In of Black Achievers ‘‘The Hollywood Reporter’’. December 18, 2014.
  16. ^ "Pat Robertson calls quake 'blessing in disguise'". The Washington Post. 13 January 2010.
  17. ^ Robertson statement
  18. ^ Ireland, Michael (17 January 2010). "Urban Legend Expert Debunks Haitian 'Pact with the Devil'". ASSIST News Service. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
  19. ^ "Pat Robertson on Disasters: Consistently Wrong" Thursday, 14 January 2010, 1:01 PM by John Mark Reynolds
  20. ^ [1] Denny Burk - Associate Professor of New Testament and Dean of Boyce College (undergraduate arm of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) in Louisville, Kentucky
  21. ^ https://twitter.com/albertmohler/status/7724222162
  22. ^ http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/faith/2010/01/guest_post_a_message_for_pat_r.html
  23. ^ http://pastorchrisowens.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/my-two-words-for-pat-robertson-shut-up/
  • For an insightful article on the function of religion in the Haitian Revolution, see “The Rhetoric of Prayer: Dutty Boukman, The Discourse of “Freedom from Below,” and the Politics of God” by Celucien L. Joseph, Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Religion 2:9 (June 2011):1-33.

External links

Armed priests

Throughout history, armed priests or soldier priests have been recorded. Distinguished from military chaplains who served the military or civilians as spiritual guidance (non-combatants), these priests took up arms and fought in conflicts (combatants). The term warrior priests is usually used for armed priests of the antiquity and Middle Ages, and of historical tribes.

August 21

August 21 is the 233rd day of the year (234th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 132 days remaining until the end of the year.


Babouk is a political-themed novel by Guy Endore, a fictionalized account of the Haitian Revolution told through the eyes of its titular slave. Though virtually unknown today, Babouk has gained some notoriety in academic circles through its attempted linking of the slave trade with capitalism, and one professor has suggested that it would make a valuable addition to post-colonial literary discourse. A committed leftist and opponent of racism, Endore spent many months in Haiti researching the story that would become Babouk, and much of his findings make their way into the text, either in the form of epigraphs or explicitly noted in the text itself. Babouk is also notable for the digressions the narrator makes from the main narrative, to expound his political sympathies.

Black Power in the Caribbean

Black Power in the Caribbean refers to political and social movements in the Caribbean region from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s that focused on overturning the existing racist power structure. Guyanese academic Walter Rodney famously defined the movement as follows: “Black Power in the West Indies means three closely related things”:

the break with imperialism which is historically white racist

the assumption of power by the black masses in the islands

the cultural reconstruction of the society in the image of the blacks

Bois Caïman

Bois Caïman (Haitian Creole: Bwa Kayiman) is the site of the Vodou ceremony during which the first major slave insurrection of the Haitian Revolution was planned. On the night of August 14, 1791, representative slaves from nearby plantations gathered to participate in a secret ceremony conducted in the woods by nearby Le Cap in the French colony of Saint-Domingue. Presided over by Dutty Boukman, a prominent slave leader and Vodou priest, the ceremony served as both a religious ritual and strategic meeting as conspirators met and planned a revolt against the ruling white planters of the colony's wealthy Northern Plain.

The following prayer said by Dutty Boukman has been attributed to that night, translated as: “Good Lord who hath made the sun that shines upon us, that riseth from the sea, who maketh the storm to roar; and governeth the thunders, The Lord is hidden in the heavens, and there He watcheth over us. The Lord seeth what the whites have done. Their god commandeth crimes, ours giveth blessings upon us. The Good Lord hath ordained vengeance. He will give strength to our arms and courage to our hearts. He shall sustain us. Cast down the image of the god of the whites, because he maketh the tears to flow from our eyes. Hearken unto Liberty that speaketh now in all your hearts.” (Heinl)

In the following days, the whole Northern Plain was in flames, as the revolutionaries conducted acts of violence towards those who had formerly enslaved them. Clouded in mystery, many accounts of the catalytic ceremony and its particular details have varied since it was first documented in Antoine Dalmas's "History of the Saint-Domingue Revolution" in 1814. The ceremony is considered the official beginning of the Haitian Revolution.

This excerpt from the official "History of Haiti and the Haitian Revolution" serves as a general summary of the ceremonial events that occurred:

A man named Boukman, another houngan, organized on August 24, 1791, a meeting with the slaves in the mountains of the North. This meeting took the form of a Voodoo ceremony in the Bois Caïman in the northern mountains of the island. It was raining and the sky was raging with clouds; the slaves then started confessing their resentment of their condition. A woman started dancing languorously in the crowd, taken by the spirits of the loas. With a knife in her hand, she cut the throat of a pig and distributed the blood to all the participants of the meeting who swore to kill all the whites on the island.

Despite purported facts and embellishments that have dramatized the ceremony over the centuries, the most reoccurring anecdote is the sacrifice of a black Creole Pig to Ezili Dantor by the mambo Cécile Fatiman and the conspiratorial pact formed through its blood. First documented by Dalmas, the following excerpt provides the first details of the sacrifice:

A black pig, surrounded by the slaves believe to have magical powers, each carrying the most bizarre offering, was offered as a sacrifice to the all-powerful spirit...The religious community in which the nègres slit its throat, the greed with which they have believed to have marked themselves on the forehead with its blood, the importance that they attached to owning some of its bristles which they believed would make them invincible.

The book:History of the Saint-Domingue Revolution, 1814 by Antoine Dalmas gives some conflicting account of the ceremony.

The black Creole Pig, although indigenous to the island, being domesticated centuries earlier by the Tainos, was a sacrifice to and a symbol of Ezili Dantor, the mother of Haiti who resembles the scarred Dahomey Amazons or Mino, meaning "Our Mothers" in the Fon language. It was a mixing of the traditions of the army of the Dahomey, which was the ethnicity of many of the slaves in Saint Domingue with the Taino, who had fled to the high mountains of Haiti (Haiti meaning high mountains in Taino) in order to escape the Spanish colonial genocide.

This ceremonial event has been considered by many conservative Christian sources as the Haitian "pact with the devil" that ignited the revolution. They were influenced by "spiritual warfare" theology and concerned that the Aristide government had made efforts to incorporate the Vodou sector more fully into the political process. These Evangelicals developed a counter-narrative to the official national story. In this narrative, the ancestral spirits at the Vodou cemetery were re-cast as demons. In their view, the engagement with demons amounted to a pact that put Haiti under the rule of Satan. While some Haitian Evangelicals subscribe to this idea, most Haitian nationalists vehemently oppose it. This belief was referenced by Christian media personality Pat Robertson in his controversial comments during the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Robertson declared the Haitian people "have been cursed by one thing after the other" since the 18th century after swearing "a pact to the devil". Robertson's comments were denounced as false, ignorant, and inconsiderate.


Bookman may refer to:

Bookman (Caribbean folklore), one of several traditional representations of the Devil in Trinidad Carnival.

Bookman (Black Order), a character in the manga series D.Gray-man

Bookman (occupation), a person who engages in bookselling

Bookman (reading), a person who loves books

Bookman (typeface), a serif typeface derived from Old Style AntiquePeople with the surname Bookman:

Dutty Boukman a self-educated slave

Louis Bookman (1890–1943), Lithuanian-born footballer and cricketer

Sandra Bookman (born 1959), American television news reporter and anchor

Lt. Joe Bookman, a fictional character in the sitcom Seinfeld, played by Philip Baker Hall

Nathan Bookman, a fictional character in the sitcom Good Times

Boukman Eksperyans

Boukman Eksperyans (English: Boukman Experience) is a mizik rasin band from the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Grammy nominated for their debut album Vodou Adjae. The band derives its name from Dutty Boukman, a vodou priest who led a religious ceremony in 1791 that is widely considered the start of the Haitian Revolution. The other half of the band's name, "Eksperyans", is the Haitian Creole word for "experience", and was inspired by the band's appreciation of the music of Jimi Hendrix. The band was at the height of its popularity in 1991 when the presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a military coup d'etat. Like many other artists and performers, Boukman Eksperyans fled the country to live in exile. During their time abroad, the band performed and spoke out against the military dictatorship of Raoul Cédras. In 1994, after Aristide was restored to power, the band returned to Haiti, where they continued to play concerts, record albums, and perform at the Carnival celebrations.

Cécile Fatiman

Cécile Fatiman (fl. 1791), was a Haitian vodou priestess, a mambo (Voodoo). She is famous for her participation in the vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman, which is considered to be one of the starting points of the Haitian Revolution.

David Katz (author)

David Katz is an American author, music journalist, photographer, A&R consultant, disc jockey and reggae historian.


Dutty is a given name. Notable people with the name include:

Dutty Boukman, a Jamaican born educated slave who was shipped to Haiti and became a hounganOther things with the name Dutty:

Dutty Wine

Georges Biassou

Georges Biassou (1741, Haiti – 1801, Saint Augustine, Florida) was an early leader of the 1791 slave rising in Saint-Domingue that began the Haitian Revolution. With Jean François and Jeannot, he was prophesied by the vodou priest, Dutty Boukman, to lead the revolution.

Like some other slave leaders, he fought with the Spanish royalists against the French Revolutionary authorities in colonial Haiti. Defeated by his former ally Toussaint Louverture, who had allied with the French after they promised to free the slaves, Biassou remained in service to the Spanish Crown. He withdrew from Santo Domingo in 1795 and moved with his family to Florida, which was then part of the Spanish colony of Cuba.In Florida, Biassou changed his first name to Jorge. Spanish leaders put him in charge of the black militia in Florida. He began to build alliances there when his brother-in-law married a fugitive from South Carolina. Florida had provided refuge for both planters and slaves during the American Revolution.

Henri Caesar

Henri Caesar, also known as Black Caesar, (fl. 1791-1830) was a legendary 19th-century Haitian revolutionary and pirate. Efforts to find historical evidence of his existence have been unsuccessful. According to works of fiction, he was a participant in the Haitian Revolution under Dutty Boukman and Toussaint Louverture as well as active in piracy for nearly a 30-year period during the early 19th century.

Henri Caesar has been confused with a real pirate who was also known as Black Caesar and operated from the Florida Keys in the early 1700s until being captured and hanged in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1718.

Islam in Haiti

Islam in Haiti is a small minority of Muslims forming less than 1% of the total population. The Muslims are composed of some locals and foreign immigrants. A number of Mosques and Islamic organizations are present in the country. There are both Sunni and Ahmadi Muslims, with their own point of views.

Islam may have been introduced from Africa during the slave trade period but over the years those Muslims decadents lost their traditional religious belief. It was then reintroduced by Moroccan immigrants and has been present from then until the present. Muslims can practice their religion freely and Islamic studies are available.


Jeannot was a leader of the 1791 slave rising that began the Haitian Revolution. With Biassou and Jean François, he was prophesied by Dutty Boukman to lead the revolution, and fought with the Spanish royalists against the French Revolutionary authorities in colonial Haiti.

He launched vicious attacks on whites and mulattoes, devising gruesome methods of putting them to death. Toussaint Louverture was sickened by his attitudes and actions. (Beard, p. 55)

"Small, thin man with a forbidding manner and a veiled crafty face. He was utterly remorseless... even towards his own kind. ... He would stop at nothing to gain his own ends, he was daring, seizing quickly on chances, quick-witted and capable of total hypocrisy. He feared no one and nothing; unfortunately he found inspiration in cruelty, a sadist without the refinements that so-called civilization brings." (Parkinson, p. 40) "He hanged those he had captured by hooks stuck under their chins. He himself put out their eyes with red-hot pincers. He cut the throat of a prisoner and lapped at the blood as it flowed, encouraging those around him to join him: "Ah, my friends, how good, how sweet is the blood of the whites. Drink it deep and swear revenge against our oppressors, never peace, never surrender, I swear by God." (Parkinson, p. 43-4).

Jeannot's brutality was not limited to whites and free blacks. He also targeted blacks who he suspected of loyalty to the white planter establishment. One rebel commander named Blin, who helped some white planters to reach safety, for example, was brutally executed for treason by Jeannot. A man named Gros, who was among a group of white prisoners in a rebel camp under Jeannot's command, left behind a written account of the period. According to Gros, Jeannot ordered the torture and execution of one of his captives every 24 hours 'to prolong his enjoyment'. Before the execution of Gros and the other remaining prisoners, however, a higher ranking rebel leader, Jean-François, arrived in the camp. Jeannot was subsequently arrested, placed on trial, and executed on the orders of Jean-François (Dubois, p. 112, 123).

Limbé, Nord

Limbé (Haitian Creole: Lenbe) is a commune in the Limbé Arrondissement, in the Nord department of Haiti.

With a population of 32200 inhabitants (2003 census) it is the second city in importance in this department after Cap-Haïtien. The arrondissement du Limbé (borough of Limbé) includes two communes: Limbé and Bas-Limbé (Low-Limbé). The commune du Limbé includes seven rural sections: Tanmas (1st), Haut-Limbé, Soufrière, Ravine-des-Roches, 4th or Simalo, Camp-Coq and 8th section (near the town of Plaisance). The arrondissement du Limbé has about between 69,256 and 80,000 inhabitants (United Nations OCHA (Haiti) report on the population of Haiti of 2003 published in October 2004). Limbé is located 220 km north of the capital Port-au-Prince.

Philibert François Rouxel de Blanchelande

Philippe (or Philibert) François Rouxel, viscount de Blanchelande (21 February 1735 in Dijon – 15 April 1793 in guillotined in Paris) was a French general. He was serving as Governor of Saint-Domingue at the start of the Haitian Revolution.

In 1781, Maréchal de camp Blanchelande took Tobago from the British and was Governor from 1781 to 1784.

He succeeded Governor General of Saint-Domingue, de Peinier, at the end of 1790. In 1791, during the Haitian Revolution, Rouxel led the Royalist forces against the revolt and its leader, Dutty Boukman.

In 1792, he was replaced as Governor by d'Esparbès (who would himself be replaced by Galbaud du Fort after June 1793). Convicted of counter-revolutionary actions and treason, Blanchelande was condemned to the guillotine by a revolutionary Court on 11 April 1793 and executed on 15 April.

The 700 Club

The 700 Club is the flagship television program of the Christian Broadcasting Network, airing each weekday in syndication throughout the United States and available worldwide on CBN.com. The news magazine program features live guests, daily news, contemporary music, testimonies, and Christian ministry. Celebrities and other guests are often interviewed, and Christian lifestyle issues are presented. The program additionally features major world news stories plus in-depth investigative reporting by the CBN News team.The 700 Club has been in production since 1966 and has aired for over 38 years on the same network under several iterations. It is one of the longest-running television programs in broadcast history and the longest continuously run weekday program on cable television. It is hosted by Pat Robertson, Gordon P. Robertson, Terry Meeuwsen, and Wendy Griffith. Previous co-hosts include Ben Kinchlow (1975–88, 1992–96), Sheila Walsh (1987–92), Danuta Rylko Soderman (1983–87), Kristi Watts (1999–2013), and Lisa Ryan. Tim Robertson served as host for a year (1987–88) along with Kinchlow and actress Susan Howard, while Pat Robertson ran unsuccessfully for President in the 1988 campaign.

Timeline of Haitian history

This is a timeline of Haitian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Haiti and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Haiti. See also the list of heads of state of Haïti.

Top Five

Top Five is a 2014 American comedy film written and directed by Chris Rock. The film, which stars Rock, Rosario Dawson, and Gabrielle Union, was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The movie follows New York City comedian and film star Andre Allen (Chris Rock), who has to confront his past and comedic career while doing an interview with journalist Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson). The film was released on December 12, 2014, by Paramount Pictures, grossing $26.1 million against a $12 million budget.

Haitian Revolution
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