Joseph Auguste Anténor Firmin was born on October 18, 1850 in the city of Cap-Haitien. Not much is known about his early age. As an adult, he became a Journalist, a lawyer, author, a politician who served as Minister of Finance and Commerce and, Minister of Foreign Affairs under President Florvil Hyppolite; and last but definitely not least, a Scholar in Anthropology. Anténor Firmin is best known for the publication of his book in 1885, " l'Égalité des Races Humaines" (The Equality of the Human Races); a rebuttal to the racist ideology of the French writer Arthur de Gobuineau's " Essai sur l'Inégalité des Races Humaines" (Essay on the Inequality of Human Races) In his book, Arthur de Gobuineau affirmed that the Caucasian Race was superior to the Black Race and other people of color. But Antenor Firmin firmly believed that the equality of the races could be demonstrated through a positivist scientific approach. He became the first Anthropologist to question the concept of race and argue against evolutionism. He never categorize his opponents view as racism, he made fun of their thinking using instead the terms:<<Bizarre, comical, illogical>> Firmin elegantly and confidently challenged the racist writings; the dominant view of the time, by going to the very philosophical roots of anthropology.
It is curious to see what results the doctrine of inequality of races could bring to the best mind, the most balanced intelligence, but it is a new proof of the power of logic. We do deviates in science as in everything, only to fall into the grossest errors, the wildest theories!
Many referred to that paragraph as a prediction of Barack Obama becoming the first Black President of the United States in 2008.
Antenor Firmin's book The Equality of the Human Races was over a century ahead of its time. Antenor Firmin became the first Anthropologist to prove that Egypt was the source of European civilization; it wouldn't be until 1987 were similar critiques would be repeated by the English professor Martin Gardiner Bernal, a Harvard Phd graduate. Antenor Firmin in his writings also predicted the American occupation of Haiti in 1915, 15 years before it actually happened.
Anténor Firmin died on September 19th, 1911, at the age of 60 in exile in Saint Thomas.