Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Haiti & Galveston

A recent review in The New York Times Book Review led me to thoughts about Galveston, Texas. 

The book reviewed was called Toussaint Louverture. Toussaint Louverture was the leading figure in the fight for Haitian independence. The book is written by Madison Smartt Bell.

Here is an excerpt from the book as quoted in the review—  “within Haitian culture there are no….contradictions., but simply the actions of different spirits which may possess one’s being under different circumstances and in response to vastly different needs.” 

This was written about the personality of Toussaint Louverture, but also seems to be about Haiti and Haitian culture as a whole.

I thought about this explanation of contradictory things while visiting the island city of Galveston last week.

Galveston is changing. More wealthy people are moving in and the middle class is moving out. The poor remain.

I saw evidence of this while shopping in a Galveston supermarket. The store is being upscaled. The physical condition of the store has been improved and more wine, fancy cheeses and organic foods are being offered.

The Galveston I’ve known has seemed to be a poor place. Galveston has never fully recovered from the 1900 hurricane or from the construction of the Houston Ship Channel over 90 years ago.

How will a “new” more prosperous Galveston change the character of the island? Is it time to shake off the lingering effects of long-ago events or will a growing gap between rich and poor on the island become a new tragedy?

What “different spirits” and “different circumstances” will shape modern Galveston?

March 5, 2007 Posted by | Best Posts Jan.-June 2007, Books, Galveston, Texas | 1 Comment