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Big day in Little Haiti: Pols unveil street co-named for man who ended island’s colonial rule

New name: Residents cheered the unveiling of the sign co-designating some 30 blocks along Rogers Avenue as Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard.
Brooklyn Paper
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Members of Brooklyn’s Haitian community cheered officials as they unveiled a new street sign in honor of a native forefather at the corner of Rogers and Newkirk avenues on Saturday.

The newly co-named Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard — which includes some 30 blocks of Rogers Avenue between Farragut Road and Eastern Parkway — is a fitting tribute to the former slave who rose to lead his country to victory in the Haitian Revolution and then serve as the first ruler of an independent Haiti, according to a local Hatian-American who attended the ceremony.

“I’m happy to see Jean-Jacques Dessalines honored in this way,” said Jeffrey Pluviose. “People will see his name and research him to find out who he was. This is a very powerful moment.”

The sign’s unveiling came weeks after the city formally designated parts of Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and Midwood — including some blocks of the newly co-named street — as the Little Haiti Cultural and Business District, and months after another nearby road, Nostrand Avenue between Newkirk and Flatbush avenues as Toussaint L’Ouverture Boulevard, was jointly named for another prominent Haitian revolutionary, Toussaint L’Ouverture,

Some critics objected to Council’s decision to dedicate the Central Brooklyn street to Dessalines, claiming a tribute to the military officer turned emperor — who notoriously ordered the beheading of all French people remaining in Haiti after its native population overthrew the colonial power in 1804 — contradicts efforts to remove monuments that celebrated other controversial historical figures.

But those detractors are simply attempting to diminish Dessalines’s reputation as a Haitian who fought against slavery and colonization, Pluviose argued.

“It’s not comparable,” he said. “He had the courage to stand up to the evils of humanity at that time, and to be the man to free his people from enslavement. I don’t see how you can be against that.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.
Posted 12:00 am, August 22, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
He stood up to slavery and was a mass murderer. This man has no connection to Brooklyn. It is ridiculous to honor him here.
Aug. 23, 7:13 am
Jamie McBuhtt says:
If they really cared about Hatia they would have sent these tens of thousands of dollars to buy food for their starving country-men instead of putting up signs no one will ever look at.
Aug. 23, 7:55 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
The Vikings weren’t exactly nice people, or from Brooklyn, and they are honored all over Bay Ridge. Don’t see what the big deal is.
Aug. 23, 10:05 am
Gary from Fort Greene says:
There was already a street named for Toussaint L’Ouverture, the man whom Dessalines double crossed and turned over to the French for arrest. So, it would have been more historically accurate to replace L'Ouverture Street with Dessalines Street, since that's what happened.
Aug. 23, 2:07 pm
fuhenry from br says:
Local fat guy comments on how black people shouldn’t be offended. Tell us more.
Aug. 24, 3:37 pm

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