MAY 22, 2015
Citing the need to protect American life and property while preserving political stability in the Caribbean region, on July 28, 1915 three hundred and thirty United States Marines landed at Port-au-Prince. Thus began a nineteen-year military occupation whose consequences for the Republic of Haiti (and for the Black World) were arguably as significant as the struggle for Haitian independence that the onset of US rule extinguished. Thousands of peasants were massacred, financial control of the republic was ceded to Wall Street interests, martial law reigned, a puppet president was installed, and a country that was viewed as a beacon of Black sovereignty was reduced to an American colony. The historiography of 1915-1934 is a rich one. Roger Gaillard, Suzy Castor, Kethly Millet, Francois Blancpain, Rayford W. Logan, Hans W. Schmidt, Brenda Gayle Plummer, J. Michael Dash, Mary Renda, Leon Pamphile, and others have all written on the causes, conditions, and consequences of the occupation. Here, The 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.
United States. Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States. Haiti. Political and Financial Affairs, 1914.
Treaty between the United States and Haiti. Finances, economic development and tranquility [!] of Haiti. Signed at Port-au-Prince, September 16, 1915.
Georges Sylvain, Dix années de lutte pour la liberté, 1915-1925.
Rapport de m. Louis Borno, secrétaire d’État des relations extérieures a S. E. Monsieur le président de la République d’Haiti. Tome 1er. Négociations diverses, réclamations et litiges diplomatiques, 1916.
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1920.
Memoir on the Political Economic and Financial Conditions Existing in the Republic of Haiti under the American Occupation by the Delegates to the United States of the Union Patriotique d’Haiti, May 25, 1921.
Foreign Policy Association. The seizure of Haiti by the United States: A report on the military occupation of the Republic of Haiti and the history of the treaty forced upon her, 1922.
United States Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Haiti and Santo Domingo. Inquiry Into Occupation and Administration of Haiti and Santo Domingo, 1922.
Occupied Haiti: being the report of a committee of six disinterested Americans representing organizations exclusively American, who, having personally studied conditions in Haiti in 1926, favor the restoration of the independence of the negro republic, edited by Emily Greene Balch.
Arthur C. Millspaugh, Haiti under American control, 1915-1930.
Report of the President’s Commission for the Study and Review of Conditions in the Republic of Haiti, March 26, 1930.
Stenio Vincent, Sur la route de la seconde independance en compagnie du soldat et du citoyen haitiens (1934).
MARCH 22, 2011
In Haiti numberless
have been committed.
To give some idea
of their horror
we cite only a few
cases made public …
1. Hanging of M. Cicéron Lacroix, execution of Léon Moricet, Téca, and other persons in October and November. 1918, by Lieut. Lang, acts denounced to the naval court of inquiry by M. Philocles Lacroix in his letter of October 20, 1920.
2. Execution of the Péralte brothers by Lieut. Wallace at Mirebalais in December, 1918. Here are the names of those shot: Philoxène Péralte, Emmanuel Péralte, Péralte, jr., and Lèosthéne Péralte.
3. Execution by the marines of Joseph Marseille and his two sons, Michel and Estima Marseille, of Princivil Mesadieux, Baye section, district of Mirebalais; assassination by the marines of Guerrier Josaphat and one of his children, aged 14, in his own house, acts denounced by M. Louis Charles, sr., December 8, 1920.
4. Arrest by an American officer, and mysterious disappearance of M. Charrite Fleuristone, former school inspector at Chappelle. district of St. Marc. He was arrested in the first part of 1919, at the same time as MM. Jean Baptiste and Clément Clerjeune.
5. At Marin, district of Mirbalais, in December, 1919, assassination and mutilation of Joseph Duclerc, a respectable old man of 60, by marines and gendarmes. After the crime they burned his cottage.
6. At the same time and in the same section the same group fired on a schoolteacher and wounded her in the mouth. She managed to escape. The marines and gendarmes burned her house as well as everything that went with it. They were accompanied by an American officer, a lieutenant, whose name can be established by an investigation.
7. Near Marin, at Collier, district of Mirebalais, the same band cut the head off a blind man named Néis, 25 years old, and did the same thing to a child who was with him, named Jules Louisville.
8. At Marin, at the same time, another group of gendarmes and marines assaulted Mathieu Cadet, aged 55, in his house, shooting him. Although wounded in the shoulder, he was able to escape his assailants through a concealed door. His house was robbed and burned. The gendarme Joanis took off a mule belonging to Mathieu.
9. In January, 1919, at Noailles some marines and gendarmes coming from Beaurepos killed Jean Luc, an invalid. Torn from his house, firearms were emptied into his body. His house was robbed and burned.
10. On the same day the same band of marines and gendarmes surprised Esca Estinfil in his house at Caye-Beau with his young sons. They shot all three, father and children. Then they robbed his house and burned it. Esca was a great planter, and had a large quantity of coffee stored, and a good sum of money ready for commercial transactions.
11. On January 25, 1919, at “Savane Longue,” near Marin, a group of marines and gendarmes coming from Terre-Rouge, district of Mirebalais, killed Hon. Auré Bayard, who was ill in bed. They pulled him from his bed, and shot him through and through. The house was robbed and burned. Then they forced Mme. Auré Bayard, by striking her with the butt ends of their rifles, to take the things that they had just stolen and carry them along with them. It was not until the next day that the poor woman could render her last services to her husband.
12. On January 30 some marines and gendarmes, led by spies named Néis (des Orangers) and Auré Fleury (du Carrefour grand-mât), killed a pregnant woman in a place called Thomaus. The cottage was robbed.
13. In December, 1919, some marines and gendarmes coming from Saut d’Eau or Mirebalais arrived at the second section of the Crochus, district of Mirebalais, and shot, at Beauvoir, Saint-Félix Geffard, who lived with his two little daughters aged 8 and 12 years. The terrified children managed to escape the shots of the assassins.
14. On the same day, at Beauvoir, the same band robbed the cottage of Tinhomme Saint-Félix, then shot him and burned his corpse.
15. On the same day, at Beauvoir, the same band killed a respectable old man named Saintime Vernet. His cottage was robbed. Then the band burned the little village of Beauvoir.
16. No attention was paid to a denunciation by M. Paul Bayard, sent to the naval court of inquiry in a letter dated November 26, relative to the crimes enumerated below, committed by the Haitian sergeant of the gendarmerie, Maurice Lafontant, by the American captains. O’Neil and Verdier, and by the American lieutenant, Rogers, at Montagne, Goanau and Serin neighborhood, district of Jacmel (a section where there have never been any of the so-called “Cacos”): (1) Thirty-eight houses burned; (2) assassination of Michael Jean Francois, age 74 years—his house was burned; (3) Paul Bayrd, wounded by two bullets, one in his thigh and the other in his abdomen—his house was burned; (4) assassination of Enélien Ladouceur; (5) Franc’sque Gabriel, wounded by one bullet in the thigh.
17. Bodily tortures were inflicted by the American captain of gendarmerie, Fitzgerald Brown, upon M. Polydor St. Pierre, clerk of the St. Marc police court, in the prison of that town. He was arrested on January 3, 1919, on a false charge of theft, and was imprisoned for six mouths. Brown administered the “water cure” to him and burned his body with a red-hot iron; to say nothing of the beatings and other tortures which he inflicted upon him. St. Pierre vainly begged a hearing from the naval court of inquiry.
18. Executions by night at St. Marc during the first months of 1919 in the localities known as “Grosses Roches” and “Gros-Morne” by Capt. Fitzgerald Brown.
19. Hanging of Fabre Yoyo from a mango tree on March 13, 1919, at Pivert, on property belonging to the Orius Paultre family of St. Marc; execution on this same property this same day of two young boys of 14 and 15 years, Nicolas Yoyo and Salnave Charlot, by Capt. Fitzgerald Brown.
20. Among the crimes perpetrated in the region of Hinche, Maissade, from 1916 to 1919, by Lieuts. Lang and Williams, acts little known, and denounced by M. Méresse Wooley, former mayor of Hinche, on December 10, 1920, in the Courier Haitien, are the following: (1) M. Onexil hanged and burned alive in h’s house at Lauhaudiagne; (2) execution of Madame Eucharice Cadichon at Mamon; (3) execution of Madame Romaín Brigade at l’Hermitte, near Maissade; (4) execution of Madame Prevoit with a baby of a few months at “Savane-à-Lingue” on her own property.
21. Madame Garnier, widow of the notary who was killed by Lieut. Williams at Maissade, told Judge Advocate Dyer privately, on November 27, 1920, of the shooting of Madame Lumenesse, mother of eight children, by Lieut. Williains of the Haitian gendarmerie. Madame Garnier’s declaration was published in the Courier Haitien of December 18, 1920.
22. Execution of Gon. Saül Péralte, near the Canary, by Gendarme Lamartine Toussaint, assisted by the American Lieut. Vernon, and ordered by the American Capt. Verdler, published in the Courier Haitien.
23. Arrest of Cadéus Bellegarde and cruelty inflicted upon him by the American Lieut. Dukela on December 2, 1919, at Saut-d’Eau, district of Mire-balais. According to a complaint made before a Haitian court, on December 8, 1920, and published in the Courier Haitien of February 9, 1921. Cadéus Bellegarde accused Lieut. Dukela of having burned 10 of his houses and stolen all of his property, including 12 horses, 3 mules, 70 oxen, etc.
24. In a letter published February 22, 1921, in the Courier Haitien, dated at Belladere, January 31, 1921, M. Casimir, jr., gives the following list of Haitians executed at Belladere by certain officers and soldiers of the Marine Corps: Gabriel Morette, Saint-For Jean-Baptiste, Frésirus Dufresin, Elie Ladomate, Bristoul Michel, Achille Vincent, Lorme Lorendou, Petika Casian, Normelus Saint-Charles, Adou Domingue, Aritus Domingue, Erisma Barau, Ehelusma Barau, Ocean Noisette, Surprilus Vilette, Saint-Pierre Infine, Monexa Chitry, Salomon Suprien. Fleury Pierre, a small daughter of M. Raymond Dominique, Lami Pinal, Lhérisson Pinal, Marcelus Joseph and his son, Georges Ledou, Francisque Contrairie. Princy Lachanelle, Céus Grandin, Joeelin. jr., Saint-Uma Pierre, Elie Morette, Stiven Calixte, Barjon Charles, Dumorne Vincent, jr., Juste Glodin, Donil Cyriaque, M. Casimir, jr., gave also the names of 48 proprietors whose houses and fields had been burned by certain officers and soldiers of the Marine Corps in the commune of Belladere.
25. In a petition addressed on December 16, 192,. to M. Barnave Dartignennve. state secretary of the interior for Haiti, by the members of the League for the Public Good, at Cap-Haitien, whose president is Pastor Auguste Albert of the Baptist Church, which petition was published in the Courier Haitien on February 26, 1921, we notice the following facts:
(a) In the prisons of Cap-Haitien, during the years 1918, 1919, and 1920, more than 4,000 prisoners died.
(b) At Chabert, an American camp, 5,475 prisoners died during these three years, the average being five deaths a day.
(c) At Cap-Haitien, in 1919, eight corpses of prisoners a day were thrown into the pits.
(d) The mortality rate is just as high in the prisons of Port-au-Prince and Gonaives.
(e) At Cap-Haitien, out of 500 prisoners, the average mortality is four a day, i. e. 24 per cent per month, or only 1 per cent less a quarter of this whole number.
(f) Before American occupation and the seizure of the prisons by the American officers the number of prisoners in the Cap-Haitien prison did not exceed, on an average, 40 a year.
(g) At this time the mortality rarely reached the number of four prisoners a year.
The ghastly mortality in the prisons together with confirmation by survivors reveals a record of atrocities, of brutality, and cruelty which defies description. It is a record for which it would be difficult to find a parallel.
Inquiry into occupation and administration of Haiti and Santo Domingo: Hearing[s] before a Select Committee on Haiti and Santo Domingo, United States Senate, Sixty-seventh Congress, first and second sessions, pursuant to S. Res. 112 authorizing a special committee to inquire into the occupation and administration of the territories of the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Volume 1 (1922)