Diaspora

Discovering the Hero in Haiti's Night of Fire – courierjournal

Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Children at an Haitian Elementary School overseen by Liberte’ Ministries   

Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Discussion & Book Signing with Dr. Tom Ott
Saturday and the Witch Woman
6:30pm Tuesday, February 22 at Pickett Place in Florence
ALL Proceeds to the work in Haiti
Children at an Haitian Elementary School overseen by Liberte’ Ministries   
FLORENCE – Retired UNA professor and Haitian Historian, Dr. Thomas Ott, was learning about his family’s tumultuous history over the centuries in a foreign land at the age when most of us are just getting to know our back yard.  That history includes a family hero, a slave on the French side of the author’s ancestors, and a participant in the world’s greatest slave rebellion who did the unthinkable in risking his life.  Ott has invested many thousands of hours researching what transpired long ago and how lives today have been shaped.
Tom Ott’s “Saturday and The Witch Woman” is a novel of remembrance, the true story of Haiti, its war for independence, and a courageous slave named Saturday.     
Ott will discuss that remarkable Haitian story hidden for half a century during a special book signing and fundraiser for Liberte’ Ministries at Pickett Place in Florence on Tuesday, February 22 at 6:30pm.
Saturday’s real name was Kwanbe Ansong (born on Saturday, Seventh Born Child).  In hopes of avoiding being given a slave nickname, he chose an easy term, Saturday, and it stuck.  
“I started finding out about my history at an early age when my Aunt Nadine talked with me in South Carolina,” Ott recalled.  “From the time I was a boy, I would pick up bits and pieces.”  
The Haitian war of independence began in flames on August 22, 1791.  On that night known as the “Night of Fire” over 100,000 slaves rose up against their hated French overlords, burning every plantation, and executing every French man, woman, and child they could find.  Saturday dared save the lives of the master’s two young white children, smuggled them to safety and fostered them over a period of 40 years.
Delivered through a series of letters, Ott accurately describes the history and social landscape of Saturday’s time, telling the true version of his life, not just what plantation masters and their families wanted and even demanded hearing.
Despite being a slave, Saturday was not only literate, but was widely read and spoke seven languages.  Two were African (Ewe and Yoruba). two were Afro American (Haitian Creole and Lowcountry Gullah). And three were European (English, French, and Spanish).
Even as he unfolds his life’s story, Saturday recognized the danger of releasing it during his lifetime, even to his “boys.” Thus, it was not until Saturday’s death in 1850 that Philip Chartrand, the older of the children, learned the true story of Saturday and the Witch Woman.
“I have written two books about Haiti, the first was about the revolution that was published in 1973.”    
Ott earned his Ph.D. in Caribbean History from the University of Tennessee long before that publication.  The Haitian Revolution 1791-1804 still stands as one of the paramount books on that subject.  Ott retired from the University of North Alabama in 2010 to write the story of Saturday and the Witch Women (Alicia Wahl) 
“I inherited a lot of my mother’s belongings when she passed away in 2003 including materials about Saturday and other relatives,” Ott said.   
Saturday was my grandmother Catherine’s, personal attendant when she lived there. 
About Liberte’ Ministries 
Liberte’ Ministries (Liberty in French) began work in Haiti in 2010.  
The ministry is overseen by the Petersville Church of Christ in Florence and a board of directors.
“We have a 4-year School of Biblical Studies, two elementary schools with 580 students, a vocational program for women, and an orphanage.  Harry’s Home orphanage provides a great environment for the children we serve and they are the recipients of any funds raised at this event, said Arvy Dupuy, one of the Liberte’ volunteers here in Florence.   
 “We are a 501c3 in the US and have no paid staff here or leased offices.  Everyone is a volunteer, meaning 100% of funds raised go directly to services in Haiti.”  Members of the local team visit Haiti several times a year to ensure that things are going as planned and the children are safe.  We have a variety of Haitian staff that overlap to insure the safety, security, and well-being of the children we serve as well. 
“Dr. Ott  has graciously offered to pay for the books from his publisher, so that 100% of the proceeds from this event go to the children,” Dupuy added.
For more information on the Ott book signing or the overall work of Liberte’ Ministries, please email  jay@liberteministries.org, visit the website at www.liberteministries.org, or mail to Liberte’ Ministries c/o Arvy Dupuy  6870 County Road 200, Florence, AL 35633.
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