The Black Republic: African Americans, Haiti, and the Rise of Radical Black Internationalism (under contract, The University of Pennsylvania Press)

Following Emancipation, black journalists, ministers, artists, educators, clubwomen, diplomats, and orators romanticized Haiti. They not only celebrated its diplomatic recognition by Western nations but also expressed reverence for the past and present political leaders of a country they knew as the “Black Republic.” This exuberance masked a great deal of anxiety, however. Even as they lauded Haiti’s unique standing in global affairs, black leaders scrutinized that country. Invested in a politics of racial uplift and influenced by the imperialist rhetoric of their day, they took responsibility for the “improvement” of Haitian politics and culture. For them, Haiti was literally an experiment in self-government: it might succeed and vindicate the capabilities of African Americans yearning for full citizenship in their own country or it might fail and condemn them to a degraded status for the foreseeable future. The results seemed far from certain.

That is the opening act of The Black Republic, a book that shows how black intellectuals in the postemancipation United States resolved their ambivalence about Haiti and, in doing so, clarifies our understanding of key evolutions in black intellectualism, identity, and political mobilizations.


“The Transnational Work of Moral Elevation: African American Women and the Reformation of Haiti, 1874-1950,” Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International 5, no. 2 (2016): 128-150. *Winner: 2017 Best Article Prize in the Haiti-Dominican Republic Section of the Latin American Studies Association*

“Teaching Celia in the Age of Black Lives Matter,” Radical Teacher 106 (Fall 2016): 57-64

“To Start Something to Help These People: African American Women and the Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934,” The Journal of Haitian Studies 21, no. 2 (December 2015): 127-153.

“Black Republicans, Black Republic: African-Americans, Haiti, and the Promise of Reconstruction,” Slavery & Abolition 36, no. 4 (December 2015): 545-567.

Book Chapters

“Fabre Geffrard, the Holly Family, and the Construction of a “Civilized” Haiti,” in Celucien L. Joseph and Nixon S. Cleophat, eds., Vodou in Haitian Memory: The Idea and Representation of Vodou in Haitian Imagination (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2016).

Cultural & Literary Periodicals

“Tar Heels, Alive,” The Point Magazine 13 (Winter 2017)

“Making America White 200 Years Ago,” Public Books, February 2, 2017

“Talking About Mass Shootings Involves Silence About American History,” Scalawag (January 2017)

Online Publications

Various, Black Perspectives, online publication of the African American Intellectual History Society.

“Sylvio Cator: Haiti’s Olympian,” Sport in American History.

“White Folks and Christians in Haiti,” H-Haiti.

“O.J. Simpson, Ex-Colored Man,” Sport in American History

Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, Dictionary Entries, and More

I have contributed book reviews for numerous journals including The Journal of African American History and entries to several publications including the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (2016).

Brandon R Byrd