It’s as powerful an artistic representation of a country and its people as I’ve ever come across anywhere – Le Negre Marron, or in Creole, Neg Mawon. Translated into English, it’s The Black Maroon. In any language, it’s simply amazing. Commissioned by the Duvalier government to commemorate the landmark slave revolt against France that won Haiti her freedom in 1804, the statue was produced by Haitian sculptor/artist Albert Mangones in the late-1960’s. It’s an extremely moving piece – the left leg extended with a broken shackle at the ankle denoting the hard-fought freedom, a machete in the right hand showing the strength to fight, and the conch shell at the lips harkening to the old and oft-used method of alerting the masses. What makes the statue even more significant today is the fact that it survived the devastating earthquake of January 2010 completely intact. Even as major buildings like the National Palace crumbled all around it, Le Neg Mawon stood firm, resilient in the face of tragedy much like the people of Haiti have for hundreds of years. Le Neg Mawon is located in downtown Port-au-Prince, just a few short blocks from the Marriott Port-au-Prince, the country’s newest and most modern hotel.

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