On the Life of “Mambo Marilyn”


News coverage and images of Haiti proliferated in Chicago’s print media from the 1910s to the 1930s during the U.S. Occupation of the island. This article looks at a few moments — specifically the year 1915, as the U.S. invaded Haiti’s shores and 1920/1921 which saw a change in the U.S. presidential administration— of coverage in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Defender.

The Chicago Defender

The Chicago Defender — which played a vital role in the Chicago Renaissance through its prioritization of publishing stories, events, reviews, and other information relevant to Black communities and culture around the U.S. — included Pan-Africanist viewpoints…


The Chicago Renaissance — a time of prolific musical, artistic, scholarly, and literary creation by Black scholars and creators in Chicago, whose renewed race and class consciousness and interest in internationalist perspectives were central to its legacy — commenced in the early-to-mid-20th century. Synchronously, Caribbean and African intellectuals at the forefront of growing post-colonial and independence movements forged Pan-Africanist solidarity with Black scholars and artists in the U.S., catalyzing cross-cultural exchange through trans-Atlantic travel.

Just as Black cultural practitioners in the U.S. were seeking to travel abroad to engage with these movements, the Rosenwald Fund was expanded to include funding…


Haitian Vodou and the Zombie during and after the U.S. Occupation

The story of how the zombie made its way to fictional post-apocalyptic futures in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York begins in the early 20th century. In their “Zombie Manifesto,” Sarah Juliet Lauro and Karen Embry introduce the icon of the zombie as a “colonial import” and offer the following trajectory of its roots in Haiti to its use in U.S. culture:

There is the Haitian zombi, a body raised from the dead to labor in the fields, but with a deep association of having played a role in the Haitian Revolution (thus, simultaneously resonant with the categories of slave and…


Re-representing Representation

This post introduces a series of blog posts that grapple with the representation of Haiti in U.S. media, particularly by Chicagoan journalists and cultural practitioners. The individual posts can be read on their own and in any order, but they’re listed here chronologically:

These are not intended to be all-encompassing, fully-fleshed out research articles, but brief “glimpses” into a few of the key moments in Haiti’s…

Ashleigh Deosaran

Multidisciplinary artist and writer | Ph.D. student in Art History at Northwestern University.

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