I recently visited the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for the first time. I could try to describe the elation I felt, sitting in the reading room under the auspices of Aaron Douglass’ Aspects of Negro Life murals, but listening to poet and activist Sonia Sanchez tell the story of her first visit to the library will give a better sense of what the Center has long represented for black culture and history. I will turn instead to what the Schomburg Center holds that might be of interest more specifically to scholars of the Haitian Revolution.
The Schomburg Center is home to extensive archival collections related to Haiti. Lately I have been working on King Henry I, and I have to say that the Kurt Fischer Archive–the exploration of which I devoted this first visit–has very little in connection to the Kingdom of Haiti. However, it has much to offer regarding the Southern Republic. Perusing through those documents, I found out about the Samaná affair, a peculiar episode regarding Jean-Pierre Boyer’s annexation of Santo Domingo in 1822.