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Haiti in the Twentieth Century

Shields Library (Lower Level)

September 23, 2008 - December 13, 2008

This year’s Campus Community Book Project book, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, is set in the island nation of Haiti. Haiti is a Caribbean country comprising the western third of the island of Hispaniola. Initially a base for pirates, the French colony known as Sainte Domingue developed an African slave-based plantation economy exporting sugar, indigo, and coffee by the end of the Eighteenth Century. A series of slave revolts and other military actions led to the colony’s independence in 1803. The only country that owes its existence to a slave rebellion, it was also the first Latin American country to gain its independence and is the second oldest republic in the hemisphere. Nevertheless, it has always had a highly stratified society. For much of its 200+ year history, Haiti’s many governments have typically served the interests of a small elite and neglected the needs of the general population.

This exhibit employs texts, images, books and newspaper headlines to tell the stories of key episodes in Haiti’s tumultuous Twentieth Century from the 1915 U.S. military occupation to the close of the second administration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Haiti in the Twentieth Century