Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American

Front Cover
University of Texas Press, 1998 - Biography & Autobiography - 182 pages

African slaves in Haiti emancipated themselves from French rule in 1804 and created the first 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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

Excellent Book

User Review  - pocacosa - Overstock.com

If you are working in Haiti or interested in child slavery anywhere this is an excellent read. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Chapter 1
1
Chapter 2
10
Chapter 3
16
Chapter 4
18
Chapter 5
21
Chapter 6
30
Chapter 7
35
Chapter 8
46
Chapter 12
98
Chapter 13
108
Chapter 14
117
Chapter 15
127
Chapter 16
139
Chapter 17
144
Chapter 18
156
Chapter 19
170

Chapter 9
56
Chapter 10
69
Chapter 11
86
AFTERWORD
183
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Today, Jean-Robert Cadet holds a Master's Degree in French literature and teaches French and American history at Madeira Junior/Senior High School in Cincinnati.

Bibliographic information