United States Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years LaterOffbeat

Not many people know that the United States invaded and occupied Haiti for almost 20 years. Today, July 28th, 2015 marks 100 years since the forced occupation. Because I have interest in Haiti, I knew of the occupation, but that is where my knowledge ended. When I don’t know something about Haiti, I turn to my grandmother. When I asked her about the occupation and if she learned about it in school, her response surprised me – “I never heard of that.” Granted the occupation was before she was born, but I still thought she might know something. What did that mean? Did the occupation have a different name while she was growing up? If someone who grew up in the country didn’t know too much about this time period, what about the larger population? What does that say about the continued presence of outside forces in the country? Was this occupation a non-factor for those who lived in smaller cities? 


So many questions. I went digging for more information and found several websites that discussed the occupation and even a documentary that is currently in the works.


Below are some resources I found about the occupation.


1. Currently, there is a Kickstarter campaign for a documentary called The Forgotten Occupation. The film is completed, but they are raising funds for post-production and release. Learn more about the documentary and support.


2. Brandon Byrd wrote a seven part series reflecting on the occupation.

Part 1: Reflecting on the US Occupation of Haiti, One Hundred Years Later

Part 2: The “Black Republic:” The Meaning of Haitian Independence before the Occupation

Part 3: “Ask Forgiveness from Dessalines:” Debating Haitian Independence on the Eve of Occupation

Part 4: “Ten Million Black People… are Watching:” Reactions to the Outset of the U.S. Occupation

Part 5: “We Must Look to Ourselves to Save the Situation:” The Emergence of Opposition to the Occupation

Part 6: Haitian Intellectuals and the U.S. Occupation of Haiti: An Interview with Patrick Bellegarde-Smith

Part 7: Charlemagne Peralte and Haitian Resistance to the U.S. Occupation: An Interview with Yveline Alexis


3. Dr. Celucien L. Joseph wrote a four part series on the occupation.

Part 1: Jacques Roumain and the US Occupation in Haiti: The Economic Impact

Part 2: Jacques Roumain and the Crisis of the Haitian Intellectuals in the Era of the American Occupation in Haiti 

Part 3: Jacques Roumain, Jean Price-Mars, and the Crisis of the Haitian Intellectuals in the Era of the American Occupation in Haiti


4. The U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian has a timeline of milestones and a brief overview. 


5. Naval History and Heritage Command, also has an overview of the US Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934. 


6. Public Archive, offers an incomplete collection of publicly available, open-access sources with the hope that the memory of the U.S. military occupation of Haiti is preserved and extended in this moment, one hundred years later.” In addition, the website has other documents tagged with “1915” and “intervention


7. The Haiti Digital Project at Duke University has transcripts, treaties, and other documents on this occupation.


8. Background information on the NAACP involvement in protesting the Occupation.


9The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom created  a document of alternatives to the US policy of sending in Marines


As always, please share other resources in the comments.


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Photo Credit: The Forgotten Occupation


    • byLaleh Khalili
    • onJuly 28, 2015

    Also Mary Renda’s excellent book Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940

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