NYC Honorary Street Names

Dessalines

Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard (Brooklyn)
Present name:Rogers Avenue
Location:Between Farragut Road and Eastern Parkway
Honoree: Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806) was one of the founding fathers of Haiti. In 1804 he defeated the French Army of Napoleon in the first and only successful slave revolution in the Americas. Dessalines was born a slave in what was then the French colony of Saint-Domingue. In 1791, he joined the slave uprising. Within a few years, the slave insurgents, under General Toussaint Louverture forced the French colonial administrators to emancipate them. After Louverture was kidnapped and deported to France in 1802, Dessalines led the Revolution. Napoleon sent forces under General Rochambeau to re-conquer Saint-Domingue. Rochambeau killed much of the non-white population, including women and children, in mass executions. But by January 1, 1804, the French were defeated and Dessalines declared Haiti independent. In response to French brutality and out of fear of future French re-conquest and re-enslavement, Dessalines ordered the execution of thousands of remaining white French on the island, but protected whites loyal to Haitian independence, including thousands of Polish soldiers who had defected from the French Army. Dessalines was declared Emperor of Haiti in September 1804. He implemented many progressive policies, including religious freedom and increased rights for women. He also attempted to reform the concentration of land ownership in a few wealthy families. This likely led to his death in a roadside ambush on October 17, 1806. (Williams, Cumbo and Eugene)
LL:2018/162


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