The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 52, Issue 2

Article 1
Between Sovereignty and Belonging Women’s Legal Testimonies in Nineteenth-Century Haiti



An analysis of the historical records of the Haitian Etat Civil, shows how rural Haitian women strategically presented themselves within Haitian law and bureaucracy in order to access legal personhood, citizenship and property ownership both for themselves and their families. Based on new archival research, the article further extends our knowledge of rural Haitian society in the nineteenth century, locating Haiti within the context of the historiography of the Caribbean in the post-slavery period.

Peyi a ki vire se pa nou ki vire,
Di papa loko sa!
Peyi a ki vire se pa nou ki vire,
Papa loko te di sa kretyen vivan yo move.

The country is changing, not us.
Tell Papa Loko that!
The country is changing, not us.
Papa Loko said that living men are cruel
-From chan vodou, Lakou Souvenance outside of Gonaives,Haiti