how it has all unfolded

Where to begin.  Since July, my days have been full of reading, writing, and working.  Sounds boring, right? Actually, if I did not have the research paper to keep my days occupied, I would go mad for lack of stimulation.  I think that I’ve finally gotten it with this fifth draft.  This was a true test of a researcher and a writers creativity.  What made it more difficult than any other paper was the fact that there is no precursor.  I realized that I was writing something that had never been written before, although that idea sounds more romantic than it really is.

For this paper, there are a few books and articles, but none of them explicitly focus on Charleston.  I had to go through several drafts of the same paper to get to where I am now.  My first draft was a report, flat out.

What I did wrong:  I’d detailed the research process that I followed, right down to the search terms I had used.  I included some of the books that I found on the subject, but there was no accompanying analysis.  I included some evidence, but there was nothing really concrete to tie it all together.

What I did right: I isolated four themes: destination, Institution of Slavery, the French Connection, and Individual Identity.  These four themes represent the wide range of evidence that I collected.  In defining them they had became unique to Charleston’s history.  The tendency of these four themes to overlap and become more entwined than four definitive themes caused organization problems though.

With the second and third drafts, I wrote more of an historiographical analysis.  In these drafts, I analysed the available scholarship and presented the themes in relation to Charleston.

What I did wrong: My writing was out of touch.  I don’t know if I was succumbing to the summer heat of Charleston or what, but I was not writing like an academic.

What I did right:  I analysed the other sources.  This helped me to further define the four themes that I had developed.

In what became the present final draft, I truly had it figured out.  I don’t know if an impending deadline was the perfect catalyst for productivity, but I really didn’t get a good hold of my writing until October hit.  The paper finally came together, a collaboration of all the papers before it, but without all the faults and errors.  I could not have developed such a paper without failing at it so many time before.  I attribute the final product to truly hashing it out on paper several times.

I finally finished the research paper and submitted it to a grad school as a writing sample. More on that later.

So I am eagerly awaiting the letter…


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The Complete Travels of the Roueche Documentary in France, Abridged.

Mon pere et moiHere I am in France having a fantastic time and speaking a lot French that I didn’t know I knew.   I’m keeping a blog of the travels at

Currently we are in Paris.  We will be here until Saturday and then off to Angeot in the Alsace region. 

I’m rather excited because my good friend Marietta is in Paris right now staying at her mothers.  I hope that we can meet some time before she leaves for Holland. 

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Going to FRANCE!

From June 18 to July 5, I will be taking a hiatus from this project and work to travel to France with my parents.  The trip is half vacation and half work, we are going to make a documentary.  Yeah, I know, the idea of it still seems bizarre to me.  But if you know my father, then it is not so far-fetched.  His ancestors came from France and Lebanon, hence my Arab eyebrows and French surname.   It is the French side of our family that is the topic of the documentary. 

My father wants to interview our French relatives on immigration with a “what if” clause.  What if my great x 5 grandfather had not come to the United States?  Are there any Roueches living with similar traits, mannerisms, or likes/dislikes to me or my father?  

All the details can be found at 

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Checking things off

I finally stared my fear of math in the face and took the GRE.  I won’t reveal my score, but let’s just say that I did as well as I thought I would, no better and no worse. 

Next step on my to do list for graduate school is to write the writing sample.  I wrote about four pages last week and have a pretty thorough outline.  I do not expect to have much difficulty finishing the first draft by the end of this week. 

The one problem that I keep encountering is putting too much extra history in the paper that is supposed to be a historiographical paper.  I need to restrain myself from adding too much detail about the Haitian Revolution itself, which is not the focus of the paper. 

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I do not have too much to blog about, but here is a brief update:

Currently I am developing my research into an outline that will eventually morph into a historiographical paper.  My aim is to have something concrete that can aid any future researcher or knowledge seeker on the topic of Saint Domingan refugees to Charleston, SC.  Since I hope to eventually leave Charleston for graduate school, this paper will also serve as my writing sample for those applications.  

I put together a notebook containing everything I have compiled or written on this subject, i.e. the bibliography, names database, newspaper database, and outlines/notes.  It is encouraging to see everything that I have in print and organized in a notebook. 



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A Bicentenary Inquiry

From Wednesday to Friday, I was able to attend all the daytime panel discussions, but unfortunately none of the evening activities because of my work schedule. The conference extended over a four day period, and everyday the venue changed for significant reasons. On Wednesday the Conference officially opened in Arnold Hall at the Jewish Studies Center with a reading by Lawrence Hill from his novel Someone Knows My Name.  The panel discussions included “Economics, Class, and Gender Issues” and panel 2 was on “Abolition, the law and its Evasion.”  I really enjoyed the passage that Hill read from his book and the discussion that followed.  Hill’s book was initially published in Canada under the title, The Book of Negroes, but when it came time to publish in the United States, the title was rejected because of the word Negro.  This title change is curious due to the connotations of the word negro in the US as opposed to Canada. 

On Thursday at the Avery Research Center, there were four panels; “Gullah and Creolization,” “Abolitionist Discourse,” “Resistance,” and “Slavery, Plantations, and landscape in American Visual Art.” There was also a lunch on the Gullah/Geechee Nation with Queen Quet, of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. I enjoyed everything about her presentation, her presence is commanding and her voice is strong.   She spoke of her battle to gain international recognition for the people of the Gullah/Geechee Nation from the local level, all the way to the United Nations. Her insistance to speak Gullah/Geechee when she addressed the UN when she was advised not to is inspiring.  That, to me, is making history.

At the Citadel on Friday there were again four panel discussions;  “Racism, Racial Science, and the Representation of Race,” “Maroonage, Dispersal, and the Roots of Forced Migration,” “Infrastructure and Ideology,” and the “Experience of Slavery.”  I was encouraged by two of the presenters on Friday’s panel, they were both young recent PhDs, and their research was very interesting, especially the one on “Slave Trading Entrepôts and their Hinterlands: The Continued Forced Migrations after the Middle Passage to North America” by Greg O’Malley. I was able to draw parallels from his work to mine. It is important to note that Haitian history is a history of migrations and movements that extends into modern day.  O’Malley is researching personal accounts about the passage from where the captured Africans entered into the US to their final destination  as slaves.  I see parallels between wondering what happened to those French colonists and Creoles who came to Atlantic port cities of the US and where they ended up.

This conference was important to me because I hope to pursue a Masters in Public History and do exactly this, organize and plan a conference or exhibit for the public.  Attending this conference was an invaluable experience through the discussions with the different presenters, the setting, and the extracurricular events of the conference. What I liked about this particular conference was the fact that the participants were not limited to scholars and academic papers, but the discussions where connected through an interdisciplinary idea that the International Slave Trade exists in history books and academic papers, but also in its descendants and their heritage, and their interpretations through art, literature, music, and especially their identity.

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“Ending the International Slave Trade: A Bicentenary Inquiry”


This week at the College of Charleston the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World (CLAW) is hosting a conference marking the bicentennial of the ending of the international slave trade.  The conference begins on Tuesday, March 25 and runs through Saturday, March 29.  The schedule of events include a Requiem on Tuesday evening, daily panel discussions, and presentations at Magnolia Gardens and Middleton Place, among others.  I hope to attend the daytime events including the panel discussions and a lunch on the Gullah/Geechee Nation. 

I am excited to attend this conference for several reasons, mainly because I have not attended many conferences and none of this magnitude.  Also for my internship, Saint-Domingue/Haiti had a major impact on the abolition of the international slave trade because no doubt the successful slave rebellion and first independent black nation struck fear in every colonial power who depended on slave labor in their colonies.  

Old Slave Mart Museum


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