Toussaint l'Ouverture: Background information when reading In Darkness

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In Darkness

by Nick Lake

In Darkness
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2012, 352 pages
    Jan 2014, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Toussaint l'Ouverture

François-Dominique Toussaint l'Ouverture was born circa 1743 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (which would later become Haiti) to an educated slave named Gaou-Guinou, who was probably a member of the African Arrada tribe. According to biographer D. Augustus Straker (1908), "So remarkable were [l'Ouverture's] traits of character that the superintendent on the plantation where Toussaint worked as a slave granted him, it is said, unusual privileges, among these the opportunity to learn to read and write, which he did, making also fair progress in arithmetic."

He was a dedicated Roman Catholic, which was the official religion of Haiti, and purportedly did not believe in vodou, a popular Creole religion. Clever, hard-working, and smart, as well as calm and level-headed, he won the respect of the plantation manager, and became a livestock handler, healer, coachman and steward. He was declared legally free in 1776 but continued to work at the plantation, presumably as a ...

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