Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American

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9780292712027: Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American
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African slaves in Haiti emancipated themselves from French rule in 1804 and created the independent black republic in the Western Hemisphere. But they reinstituted slavery for the most vulnerable members of Haitian society -- the children of the poor -- by using them as unpaid servants to the wealthy. These children were -- and still are -- restavecs, a French term whose literal meaning of "staying with" disguises the unremitting labor, abuse, and denial of education that characterizes the children's lives.In this memoir, Jean-Robert Cadet recounts the harrowing story of his youth as a restavec, as well as his inspiring climb to middle-class American life. He vividly describes what it was like to be an unwanted illegitimate child "staying with" a well-to-do family whose physical and emotional abuse was sanctioned by Haitian society. He also details his subsequent life in the United States, where, despite American racism, he put himself through college and found success in the Army, in business, and finally in teaching.

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About the Author:

Jean-Robert Cadet is addressing the restavek issue with the Haitian government and prominent citizens to affect change within Haiti. He raises awareness of the issue by speaking at colleges and universities across the United States and to government organizations around the world. He founded the Jean R. Cadet Organization to bring an end to child slavery in Haiti through increased global awareness of the issue while also providing immediate relief to children trapped in the restavek system.

Review:

"This autobiography of a young man who escaped the most foreboding of circumstances and raised himself up by his own bootstraps will appeal to a wide range of readers.... His courage in dealing with and overcoming a wretched existence in Haiti and the dehumanizing effects of racism in the United States will stimulate much reflection on the nature of these two societies." (Alex Dupuy, author of Haiti in the World Economy and Haiti in the New World Order)

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Cadet, Jean-Robert
Published by Univ of Texas Pr (1998)
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Jean-Robert Cadet
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