Second Independence (1934-1956)
Texts from Digital Library of the Caribbean:
Before being elected President of Haiti on 18 November 1930, Sténio Vincent was a major force in the nationalist resistance against the U.S. occupation. Elected president based largely on his nationalist credentials and promises of political reform, Vincent nevertheless turned to authoritarian politics shortly after the marines departed in 1934.
In 1934, Raymond Renaud published Le Régime foncier en Haïti, in which he explores the division and registration of land, as well as issues of land tenure in Haiti.
Born in Port-au-Prince in 1903, Milo Rigaud is best known for his lifelong study of Haitian vodou. Trained in ethnology, law, and psychology, Rigaud analyzed vodou from a historical perspective, illustrating its religious origins in Africa, while emphasizing the significant political role it played in the Haitian Revolution.
Daniel Fignolé was born in Haiti in 1927. With his creation of the radical political newspaper Chantiers in 1942, Fignolé established himself in the Port-au-Prince political scene as a champion for the urban poor. In 1943, Fignolé began leading the Mouvenement Ouvrier Paysan, the largest and most powerful labor movement in the country’s history. During the political upheaval of 1957, Fignolé was named provisional president, but a suspicious U.S. refused to recognize the Fignolé government due to his perceived links to communism. 19 days later, the Haitian military seized Fignolé in the presidential palace, forced him to resign, and sent him into exile in the United States. Fignolé returned to Haiti from exile in 1986 and died shortly thereafter.
Quelques réalisations du Second Empire
Born in Port-au-Prince in 1877, Dantes Bellegarde was an influential politician, diplomat, writer, and educator. Bellegarde was one of the founding members of the well-known literary journal La Ronde from 1898-1902. In 1904, Bellegarde began focusing his time on pursuing education reforms and by 1918 was named Secretary of Public Education under President Dartiguenave. In a surprising move by the French government, and one which speaks to the widespread admiration accorded Bellegarde’s speeches and essays, he was named Commander of the Legion of Honor in 1922, an honor traditionally reserved for French citizens. Bellegarde died in Port-au-Prince on 16 June 1966.
The Etienne Chalier and Emmanuel Paul Debate, 1954-55
In 1954, Etienne Charlier, a member of the Déjoie Party, penned a Marxist critique of Haitian history. Charlier argued that in the mid-twentieth century, Haiti remained tied to colonial social hierarchies based on cast and skin color, which in turn determined social class. Emmanuel Paul, known for advocating the inclusion of Haitian Kreyòl as a national language, subsequently challenged Charlier in a series of articles in Le Jour, arguing that Haitian class divisions were grounded in economic position, not cast and color.
Emmanuel C. Paul
Etienne D. Charlier