The Black Pacific

This year I published a book called The Black Pacific: Anti-colonial Struggles and Oceanic Connections. You can buy it, or download it for free from the publishers:

Because so much of the book was based on community stories, I wanted to make sure that the conversation could and continue and that the end of the book was not the end of the story.

So I creaed a page on this blog-page – BlackPacific – you can see it in the options above. I encourage people who read the book and who are in various ways related to the material, and who want to contribute, context, extend the stories to post on this page.

I’m not sure how many people might do this in the future. But anyway, I just received my first response.

I was recently emailed by Jeannette Ehrmann, from Goethe University, who is currently researching her important PhD on the Haitian Revolution.

This is what she says:

(PS It was Lachlan Paterson who first told me about the Maori/Haiti relationship)

Dear Robbie,

I hope your are doing well.

I am right now sitting in a light-flooded library in the heart of Paris, reading Jean-Louis Janvier’s book “The Detractors of the Black Race and the Republic of Haiti”, published in 1882.

I just stumbled over a passage that I would like to share with you in case you haven’t come across Janvier yet. It opens up another relation between Haiti and the Black Pacific and a shared identification across the pacific.

Janvier speaks of Australia, where the indigenous population has been slaughtered; the Sandwich Islands where the population is dimished day by day; the Gambier Islands whose population has to suffer from a theocratic, catholic regime imposed upon them; Tahiti whose population has been diminished dramatically through colonial exploitation, tobacco, alcohol and opium. And New Zealand, where “the extermination of the Maori race has been executed systematically and coldbloodedly by the English. This was accomplished within 40 years.” (p. 54)

“Don’t we have the right to raise our shoulders when some very ignorant voyagers tell us foolishly that Haitians should open their land to a mass immigration by whites?” (p. 55)

Unfortunately, there seems to be no English translation except from a short extract (

The French original is available online:

I was so astonished when I read you chapter on the Maori/Haiti relation. Now, it’s great to see that this relation was not one-sided but grounded in a solidarity from Haiti’s part as well and that it could transcend the boundaries of colonial empires and languages.

With this new discovery (at least for me), I wish you a great day on the other side of the channel.

All the best,

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