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This Month in History: Haitian Heritage Month


Did you know the month of May is Haitian Heritage month, but it’s celebrated in the United States? The first celebration was held in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1998. It then became popular in Palm Beach, Florida where the celebration started in 2001. Soon after, in 2005, it became a national celebration. This celebration is accompanied by parades, festivals, and fun activities in the community and schools; there are also flag raising ceremonies in select cities around the United States.

Many people know that Haiti is the first independent Black nation in the western world. The month of May represents many milestones for Haiti including Haitian Flag day, on May 18, 1803; representing the Haitian troops that fought for freedom. Jean-Jaques Dessalines, a leader in the Haitian Revolution removed the white in the French flag to represent the end of white supremacy in Haiti. Also, in Haiti, May 1st is Labor and Agricultural day; this is a day when workers, artisans and others parade and sing together, “Let’s put Shoulder against Shoulder for Haiti’s Development.” Haitian revolutionary, Toussaint L’ouverture, was born on May 20. He led thousands of former slaves into battle against French, Spanish and English forces; defeating the Europeans and seizing control of the entire island of Hispaniola.

Every year, many events are held in many cities around the United States, with parades such as the Annual Haitian American Unity Parade in Boston; the flag raising in Brooklyn; and in Miami Dade County, the hosting of several events also supported by the school board!


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