Rogers Avenue will be co-named to Jean-Jaques Dessalines Boulevard, honoring the first leader of an independent Haiti.
A section of Rogers Avenue in Flatbush will be co-named for Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first leader of an independent Haiti, voted City Council yesterday, approving a proposal from Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard will span Rogers Avenue from Farragut Road to Eastern Parkway, within the Little Haiti Business and Cultural District. The newly co-named street will be set just a few blocks from Toussaint L'Ouverture Boulevard, which is located on Nostrand Avenue between Glenwood Road and Flatbush Avenue. The two Haitian leaders are celebrated historical figures in Haitian-American culture for their roles in establishing a free and independent Haiti.
"Jean-Jacques Dessalines was a revolutionary who fought for his people and overthrew an oppressive regime who brutally enslaved and persecuted the Haitian people," said Williams. "This revolutionary spirit, to fight for independence and against oppression, burns bright in Haitian Culture today. Haiti and its proud people are an intrinsic part of my district and it is only right to honor that spirit with this co-naming."
Brooklyn is home to the largest percentage of foreign-born Haitian residents in New York State, with more than 40 percent of the foreign-born population residing in Flatbush. According to 2015 data by the Migration Policy Institute, Brooklyn had the second highest concentration of Haitians in the United States with an estimated 156,000 Haitian Americans residing in New York City.
"As one of the leaders of the first successful slave rebellion to result in the first Black republic and second country after the United States in the Western Hemisphere, Jean-Jacques Dessalines's remarkable leadership impacted countries around the world in gaining their independence," said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. "City Council's passing of the Rogers Avenue street co-naming to Jean-Jacques Dessalines Boulevard will allow the community to proudly acknowledge and remember Jean-Jacques Dessalines's contributions to Haitian and American history, as well as spark interest in learning about his influence as a leader."