Thursday, April 07, 2022

"All acception of color needs to cease": Article 14 of Haiti's 1805 Constitution

On 20 May 1805, a new Constitution was established for the country of Haiti. Article 14 addressed the issue of race in a striking fashion that I learned about today in a lecture on the economic history of Haiti in the nineteenth century: "As all acception of color among the children of one and the same family, whose head is the father, needs to cease, Haitians will henceforth be known only by the generic name of Blacks." The French "acception" and the obsolete English "acception" mean "favoritism" or "preference", so in the interests of eliminating preferences among children of the same father, the country's residents were thus all defined as "Blacks". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 7 April 2022)

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