Anténor Firmin cover

photo credits: Unknown - PD US

Anténor Firmin

Haitian anthropologist, journalist, and politician

1850   -   1911

country of citizenship: Haiti
occupation: anthropologist, journalist, politician
position held: Foreign Minister of Haiti

Ebooks: on Wikisource

Joseph Auguste Anténor Firmin (18 October 1850 – 19 September 1911), better known as simply Anténor Firmin, was a Haitian anthropologist, journalist, and politician. Firmin is best known for his book De l'égalité des races humaines (English: On the Equality of Human Races), which was published as a rebuttal to French writer Count Arthur de Gobineau's work Essai sur l'inégalité des races humaines (English: Essay on the Inequality of Human Races). Gobineau's book asserted the superiority of the Aryan race and the inferiority of blacks and other people of color. Firmin's work, first published in 1885, argued the opposite, that "all men are endowed with the same qualities and the same faults, without distinction of color or anatomical form. The races are equal" (pp. 450). He was marginalized at the time for his beliefs that all human races were equal.Firmin pioneered the integration of race and physical anthropology and may be the first black anthropologist. His work was recognized not only in Haiti but also among African scholars as an early work of négritude. He influenced Jean Price-Mars, the founder of Haitian ethnology and on American anthropologist Melville Herskovits.Born in Cap-Haïtien, Firmin worked in teaching, politics, and diplomacy. He founded Le Messager du Nord, a political and literary publication.
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