by Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston’s account of her travels in Haiti and Jamaica. Hurston, an Alabama and Florida native, traveled the two nations throughout 1936 and 1937 on a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. Her travelogue offers both an American’s and an insider’s perspective on Haitian vodou, since she chose to take a participatory approach to her research, joining in the vodou rituals even as she studied them.
by Adam M. McGee
Dreams play a significant role in Little Children Dream of God. This academic essay by Harvard scholar (and oungan, or initiated vodou priest) Adam M. McGee expands on the relationship between dreams and Haitian vodou culture. McGee’s description of the Haitian vodou dream world as “a porous territory suffused with spiritual powers and entities” offers a real-world exploration of some of the most theatrical moments of Little Children Dream of God, in which Sula encounters her husband in a terrifying series of dreams, as well as a broader understanding of dreams in Haitian vodou culture and scholarship.
Immigration Policy and Facts
The following articles provide a snapshot of the complex systems of US Immigration Policy. The articles include some of the most recent federal developments as well as general and Haiti-specific statistics.
Sula names her baby boy Toussaint after Revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture, who led the first successful slave revolt in history (in 1791) and launched the Haitian Revolution. This documentary covers the Revolution’s impact in Haiti as well as the reverberations of Haitian freedom throughout the US.
“Soledad O’Brien Speaks with Jean-Claude Duvalier”
In a 2014 Al Jazeera America interview, Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien speaks with former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (aka “Baby Doc”) as well as Robert Duval, a political prisoner during Duvalier’s reign. Duvalier is the son of another Haitian dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Both were known for their brutality. Throughout the father and son’s reigns (1957 - 1986), some 30,000-60,0000 Haitians were killed, and thousands of others were raped, beaten, and tortured at the hands of the Volunteers for National Security, colloquially known as the Tontons Macoutes, or “bogeymen.” “Baby Doc,” in particular, was also known for incurring high debts and embezzling millions of dollars in international aid. The elder Duvalier died in 1971, and the younger died in 2014.
Though direct descendants of Haitian immigrants, both Joel and Madison have only a shaky grasp on their family’s native language. If you’re looking to expand your own knowledge of Haitian Creole, explore Brooklyn’s HCLI, which offers workshops, seminars, and small-group activities to those looking to read, write, and/or speak Haitian Creole. Winter 2015 classes included Elementary Haitian Creole and Haitian Creole for Heritage Learners. The institute also offers translation services, dialect coaching for performers, and cultural training.
Little Children Dream of God plays at Roundabout Underground through April 5. For more information and tickets, visit our website.
2014-2015 Season, Little Children Dream of God, Roundabout Recommends