My Stone of Hope: From Haitian Slave Child to Abolitionist

Overview

There are 27 million slaves living in the world today—more than at any time in history. Three hundred thousand of them are impoverished children in Haiti, who "stay with" families as unpaid and uneducated domestic workers, subject to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. This practice, known locally as restavek ("staying with"), is so widespread that one in ten Haitian children is caught up in this form of slavery.

Jean-Robert Cadet was a restavek in Haiti from the late 1950s ...

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My Stone of Hope: From Haitian Slave Child to Abolitionist

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Overview

There are 27 million slaves living in the world today—more than at any time in history. Three hundred thousand of them are impoverished children in Haiti, who "stay with" families as unpaid and uneducated domestic workers, subject to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. This practice, known locally as restavek ("staying with"), is so widespread that one in ten Haitian children is caught up in this form of slavery.

Jean-Robert Cadet was a restavek in Haiti from the late 1950s until the early 1970s. He told the harrowing story of his youth in Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American—a landmark book that exposed ongoing child slavery in Haiti. Now in My Stone of Hope, Cadet continues his story from his early attempts to adjust to freedom in American society to his current life mission of eliminating child slavery through advocacy and education. As he recounts his own struggles to surmount the psychological wounds of slavery, Cadet puts a human face on the suffering that hundreds of thousands of Haitians still endure daily. He also builds a convincing case that child slavery is not just one among many problems that Haiti faces as the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation. Rather, he argues that the systematic abuse of so many of its children is Haiti's fundamental problem, because it creates damaged adults who seem incapable of governing the country justly or managing its economy productively.

For everyone concerned about the fate of Haiti, the welfare of children, and the freedom of people around the globe, My Stone of Hope sounds an irresistible call to action.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A devastating memoir about the shocking persistence of child slavery in Haiti.

Cadet (Restavec: From Haitian Slave to Middle-Class American,1998) writes with the hard-earned authority, for he was a child slave in Haiti from the late 1950s to the early '70s. When he was young, those in the city who were better off got their child labor from the country. Though the days of Papa Doc Duvalier's brutal regime have ended, child labor continues. Cadet fought to make his way in the United States, and he recounts the demons and ignorance he had to confront to find education, serve in the military and take advantage of GI benefits to become a teacher. He writes of his work rescuing Haiti's child slaves, helping to educate them as a way to give back what was given to him. In Cadet's view, the scars of childhood slavery leave their marks on minds as well as bodies torn by cow-hide whips and switches. The institution wounds everyone—slave and nonslave, adult and child—and the scars continue down through the culture; to this day, the threats of punishment and violence persist. Cadet sees the right to education for all as an affirmation of a society's commitment to its future. His journey of self-discovery was completed when he found the family from which he was taken so long ago.

A powerful contribution to the ongoing discussion about Haiti and the shortcomings of current approaches to aid and disaster relief in the aftermath of the massive earthquake.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292729292
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,057,130
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Robert Cadet is addressing the restavek issue with the Haitian government and prominent citizens to affect change within Haiti. He raises awareness of the issue by speaking at colleges and universities across the United States and to government organizations around the world. He founded the Jean R. Cadet Organization to bring an end to child slavery in Haiti through increased global awareness of the issue while also providing immediate relief to children trapped in the restavek system.
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