Big Fires Everywhere: How the Haitian Revolution Inspired Today’s Protesters

The sparks of global rebellion we are seeing today are rooted in the Haitian Revolution, the first successful Black-led uprising for racial equality and independence in the modern world

Orly Clerge
ZORA

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Photo illustration; Image source: Time Life Pictures/Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

“What’s his name?! George Floyd! What’s his name?! George Floyd!” a crowd of hundreds of protesters shouted on May 28 as they watched Minneapolis’ third police precinct be engulfed in flames. The precinct was the workplace of the four officers who murdered George Floyd during his arrest. Protesters had stormed the precinct earlier that evening to demand justice for the assassination of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. In a surreal scene, the crowd cheered and fireworks exploded into the night sky.

The burning down of the third precinct was the beginning of fires ignited in over 100 cities throughout the country. Political unrest erupted as protesters took to the streets to reject the state-sanctioned violence against generations of Black people. The month of May was heavy for Black Lives Matter protesters. During a global pandemic, the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor were the sparks that led to explosive outcries across the world to abolish the police and…

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