Dr. Kars' book examines accounts of a nearly successful rebellion of enslaved people just over 250 years ago and chronicles a rebellion by enslaved people in the Dutch colony of Berbice, 1763 – 1764. This uprising took place thirty years before Toussaint L’Ouverture led a successful rebellion by enslaved people in Haiti against French colonizers.
Kars traveled to the National Archives of the Netherlands in the Hague where she came across a rare find in colonial research that became the basis for her book: first-hand accounts by enslaved people. "These accounts are problematic records because they were obtained under duress, translated from Creole to Dutch, summarized by the clerk, and done in third person,” shares Kars. “However, they still provide a unique and important perspective that breaks from the racist accounts of the colonial government.”
Blood on the River is a story about the complex political internal dynamics of a rebellion and this anticolonial fight between former slaves and former masters. It’s also about the many ideas of what freedom means.