Everyone has heard and could tell you about the American and French Revolutions. The American Revolution was a fight for liberty from British rule and the French were fighting for liberty within their own country. However, the Haitian Revolution is less known about. The Haitian Revolution was an anti-slavery insurrection that took place from 1791 to 1804. The Revolution was successful and led to a state free of slavery. This is a very important event in our world’s history, however, unformatted, it has not been as researched or discussed as other revolutions, such as the American and French ones.

In most middle and high schools in America, many history lessons are oversimplified and leave out many important facts. It is impossible to teach every little thing about each topic, but it is crucial that significant events, such as the Haitian Revolution aren’t left out completely. The Haitian Revolution can be used in many ways to help complicate people’s understanding about other important historical events as well, such as the Holocaust. After hearing Jeremy Popkin’s talk about comparing it to the American and French Revolutions, I was lucky to hear him again in my history class. He discussed some comparisons between the Haitian Revolution and the Holocaust. The link between these two significant historical events is the subject of testimonies of survivors.

Memoirs are important to understanding events that occurred in the past because it enables people to hear from different perspectives. Popkin argues that all survivor testimonies, even from the perpetrators’ side are important because without them, you don’t get a full understanding of the event. Survivor testimonies not only help to complete the story, but they provide an emotional aspect that textbooks and other sources cannot. By reading stories wrote by real people, readers can relate and emphasize with the writer, which will most likely provide more interest to the reader and make the topic more important to them.

The Holocaust, being one of the talked about events in history, obviously has a tremendous amount of literature and survivor memoirs. This makes it easy for schools to teach the subject. However, even with all this literature there is still oversimplification and debate on the Holocaust. For example, in Popkin’s essay, “Tales of Survival: From the Haitian Insurrection to the Holocaust,” he writes about the question of uniqueness of the Holocaust. Some scholars believe this event to be truly unique due to the scale of brutality, but Popkin states that this belief is problematic because it “inevitably trivializes” other events in history, such as other genocides or the Haitian Revolution. However, we learn more about both the Haitian Revolution and the Holocaust by comparing survivor testimonies. Some similarities that Popkin wrote about were the horrific acts both the Jews in Germany and the black population in Haiti had to endure. For example, they were both victims of many episodes of mass slaughter.

Although there is not as much information out there on the Haitian Revolution, that does not make it any less significant. It should be taught in schools along with the other revolutions. The Haitian Revolution is a very important event in our history and deserves to be understood.