Sudhir Hazareesingh is interviewed about his research on the revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture by photographer and artist eddie OTCHERE, as part of the National Portrait Gallery's annual Slavery Remembrance Day commemoration event.
On 23 August 1791 Toussaint L’Ouverture led an uprising of enslaved Africans on the island of Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti). It was a significant event in the fight to end the transatlantic slave trade.This same date is now the UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, and is a reminder that enslaved Africans were the main agents of their own liberation.
In their video conversation below, eddie OTCHERE and Sudhir Hazareesingh discuss Toussaint's life story, the Haitian revolution, and the global histories of enslaved peoples' resistance. They also explore why it is essential for these stories of collective struggles against slavery and imperialism to be discussed and remembered today.
As part of the talk Sudhir reads from his forthcoming book, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture (Allen Lane, September 2020). The biography, which draws on much previously overlooked archival material, charts Toussaint's life, from slavery to slave leader, military mastermind to governor of French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue.
You can discover Toussaint L’Ouverture’s portraits held in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection and explore his life further with Sudhir’s recommended reading list, published by the National Portrait Gallery.