Joseph-Anténor Firmin (1850-1911) was a Haitian scholar, diplomat and journalist. Firmin wrote ‘On the Equality of Human Races’ in response to a book by de Gobineau « The inequality of human races », which asserted the inferiority of black people and the superiority of the Aryan ‘race’. The publication of Antenor Firmin’s book in 1885 was a pioneering text in anthropology and it is perhaps the first major work of anthropology written by a person of African descent. Although Firmin’s tome was lost to Francophone anthropology, it was recognized not only in Haiti but also among Pan-Africanist scholars as an early work of négritude. Anténor Firmin also had a seminal impact on Jean Price-Mars, the 20th century founder of Haitian ethnology, and these ties extend further to the American founder of African and Afro-American anthropology, Melville Herskovits.
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