Dessalines: The poor coal seller in the marketplace of La Nouvelle Dame Marie. Dessalines is capriciously beaten and finally killed by Macoute soldiers during Sophie's trip to Haiti with her infant daughter in Section Three. His name suggests the General Dessalines, born a slave, who fought with Toussaint L'Ouverture against the French to establish an independent Haiti. When L'Ouverture was arrested by the French in 1802, Dessalines became the revolution's leader, winning a decisive battle at Vertieres against Napoleon's armies, declaring Haiti an independent state in 1804 and ruling it until his assasination in 1806. Though he was by no means an unproblematic figure, Dessalines is widely remembered as the father of Haitian independence. The ironic coincidence of the coalseller's name indicates the extent to which the current government has oppressed the Haitian people.
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