Anténor Firmin, the first Haitian pioneer of the Négritude movement?
”Although Jean Price-Mars is usually credited with being the founder of “noirism,” and later Léopold Senghor hailed him as the “Father of Négritude” (Fouchard 1990), it is probable that Firmin and other illustrious members of Haiti’s nineteenth-century intellectual elite laid the primary foundation for what was to become the négritude movement. At least four of the twenty chapters of The Equality of the Human Races speak directly to the primary role played by the black race in world history and civilization, including “Egypt and Civilization,” “Intellectual Evolution of the Black Race in Haiti,” “Evolutionary Pace of the Black Race,” and “The Role of the Black Race in the History of Civilization.”A cursory reading not only of these chapters but of the entire tome re- veals Firmin to be “noirist” without arrogance or apology. Firmin attended the First Pan-African Congress in London in 1900 which W. E. B. DuBois also attended. Had he not been preoccupied with Haitian politics and a bid to become president as head of a Firminist movement, ending in his exile in St. Thomas by President Alexis Nord, Firmin might have continued this international involvement with the nascent Pan-Africanist movement.”
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