Portrait of Haitian intellectual Jean Price-Mars. October 1956. Image Courtesy of: Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haitienne, Caribéenne et Afro-Canadienne (CIDIHCA) Archives.
Portrait of Haitian intellectual Jean Price-Mars. October 1956. Image Courtesy of: Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haitienne, Caribéenne et Afro-Canadienne (CIDIHCA) Archives.

Although he remains a contested figure, in part due to the influence his work (most notably Ainsi parla l’Oncle published in 1928 during the American Marine Occupation), had on the norisme movement often associated with François Duvalier; for many, Price-Mars remains one of the most important Haitian intellectual of the twentieth century for his severe criticism of the self-serving Haitian élite and for his commitment to the study of Haitian folklore.

* I find it disheartening that, even today, in some Haitian circles, many blame Price-Mars for the way in which the noriste camp interpreted some of his work. While – with all due respect for this important scholar – it may be difficult to agree with all of Price-Mars’ ideas, it seems too easy to place the blame on his person rather than on those who used noirisme as a political tool to gain power and carry a regime of terror.

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