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François Duvalier, May 1957, Haiti. Image Courtesy of: Haïti-Référence

While Haiti surely never been a stranger to political instability, anarchy and tense elections, the last election of 1957, which brought François Duvalier to office, remains a catalyst. Although most presidential candidates proceed to detail some plans of reform for Haiti’s economy, Duvalier, who enjoyed much support in and out of Port-au-Prince and formal backing from most elements of the Haitian army, did not bother to expand lengthily on such considerations. Playing with themes both present in Catholicism and Haitian Vodou, Duvalier simply presented himself as a healer, eager to treat his nation with a black nationalist (Noirist) agenda. Many scholars note that he often spoke of himself in the third person, as a true embodiment of the Haitian nation. To be against Duvalier, as his supporters had it, was to be against Haiti. In effect, before his “election” in September 1957, Duvalier had successfully created a cult of personality around himself. Any dissent voice from then on was not only a threat to Duvalierism, black nationalism and order, it was seen as a menace to Haiti’s very existence. 

😍 On Lunionsuite.com: Born from a #Haitian father and a #Swiss mother, Alizée Gaillard moved to Pétionville, #Haiti, when she was two months old and spent her childhood there until the age of eight, when she moved back to Switzerland with her family. Her native language is Haitian creole. #Lunionsuite #Haitian #HaitianModel 🍭

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Weekend Vibes (Bob Marley ft Lauryn Hill “Turn your lights down low”)
#Caribbean #Music #Thesocalyst #Trinidad #Tobago #Guyana #Jamaica #Haiti #Barbados #Bahamas #VI #Grenada #Bermuda #StVincent #StKitts #StLucia #StMarteen #Antigua #Belize #Stcroix #Dominica #Aruba #Montserrat #WestIndies

Book cover from Mémoire d’Encrier of a reprinted edition of Ainsi Parla l’Oncle (So Spoke the Uncle) by Haitian intellectual Jean Price-Mars. The influential book was originally published in 1928.

The impact of Dr. Jean Jean Price-Mars’s 1928 manuscript on Haitian intellectual and political histories cannot be undervalued. While considered somewhat controversial today due to its association with the Noirisme movement and later Duvalierism, in 1928, it provided an attractive answer to many young Haitians who had become disillusioned with their parents’ generation and who had to come to terms with the humiliation of the U.S. Marine Occupation of their country. In Ainsi Parla l’Oncle, Price-Mars rejected the idea that Haiti owed most of its cultural influences to France and instead, argued that due to a disdain for Africa, Haitians had deliberately ignored the omnipresence of an African heritage. For many Haitians who were seeking a break for what they perceived as European values, Price-Mars’ book became a catalysis for a new Haiti. By the 1930s and 1940s with the intensification of the color question, especially during Élie Lescot presidency, what had first began as an ethnographic work and as a form of social commentary, became a political platform for the Noirist camp who sought to overthrow what they perceived as “mulatto supremacy” in Haitian politics. By then, most of Price-Mars’ ideas were radicalized and driven to an essentialist form in hopes of serving the cause of an emerging urban black middle class and élite. Much of such efforts were attributed to the ideas and writings of the “Three Ds” school, chiefly composed of Lorimer Denis, Louis Diaquoi and by a young medical school student, François Duvalier. (Source)

*You can read Ainsi Parla l’Oncle (in French) on the website of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi

📚🎩🎓 While visiting Haiti, the TOMS team had the opportunity to travel to #Domond, a village about two hours outside of Port-au-Prince. The team distributed shoes to nearly 300 children, ages 3 to 16 in a new primary school that is supported by Partners In Health and its sister organization, Zanmi Lasante cc: @toms #Lunionsuite #Haiti #Haitian #haitianstudents #PAP 🇭🇹 🇭🇹

Two girls run from the photographer as he tries to take their picture. The photographer noted that almost all of the inhabitants of Cap Haitien behaved this way whenever he tried to photograph them, Haiti, James P. Blair.

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Some resources to read Haitian News

Finding good, reliable and balanced news on Haiti is difficult. While the official mandate of this blog is to focus on Haitian history between the French colonial era and the fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, given the amount of misinformation regarding the situation in Haiti,  we decided to share a few websites we often visit. These sites should help provide readers with a much more comprehensible picture of the current social upheaval.

Warning: All the sources contained in this list include their share of limitations, be it linguistically but especially in terms of their overall political inclinations. It is absolutely necessary to consult more than one source for a full assessment of any situation. Similarly, it is equally important to read all of these with great care and discernment.  

A FEW RESOURCES: