Collection Description

Culture Name

Haitian Americans

Culture Description

Haitian Americans originate from Haiti. During the late eighteenth century many freeborn Haitians came to the United States to participate in the American Revolution. They continued to come throughout the nineteenth century and settled in New Orleans, Philadelphia, and New York City, where they contributed to the cultural and economic development of these cities. In New York, Haitians work in industries such as health care, hotels, office cleaning, and transport services. Haitians participate very actively in trade union activities in the hospital and hotel industries.


Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.


North America --Regional, Ethnic and Diaspora Cultures


United States

OWC Code


Number of Documents


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Number of Pages


Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF collection and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

The Haitian American file consists of eleven documents, all in English. The time coverage for the file ranges from approximately 1958 to the 1980s. The primary focus of the file is on the Haitian population in New York City (seven documents), with a secondary foci on Miami, Florida (two documents), and on Evanston, Illinois and the United States as a whole (one document each). Probably the most comprehensive study of the Haitian Americans is that of Laguerre (1984, no. 1) which although centering on the New York City area does provide some additional data on other Haitian groups in the United States (e.g., regarding internal migrations, etc.). Nearly all the works in this file deal in a greater or lesser degree with the Haitian emigration to the United States, settlement patterns, the establishment of new ethnic identities, cultural adaptation, and relations with the black American population. Other major topics of ethnographic interest are: sociological and sociolinguistic analysis of Haitians in America in Z├ęphir (1996, no. 6); language use (French, Creole, English) in Stafford (1987, no. 11); social structure of the Haitian community in Woldemikael (1989, no. 2) and Stafford (1987, no. 10); economics and education in Stepick (1986, no. 8) and Woldemikael; and family organization and structure in Laguerre and Fjellman (1985, no. 3).

For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this file, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

The culture summary was written by Nina Glick Schiller and Carolle Charles in September, 1997. The synopsis and indexing notes were written by John Beierle in December, 1997.

Overview by

John Beierle

American mediators (to the Haitian-Americans) -- category 629

BOLITA -- a Spanish-Caribbean numbers game -- category 525

BORLETTE -- a popular form of lottery -- category 525

Community Aid Program -- a cooperative venture between Evanston, Illinois police and city residents -categories 625, 575

Emergency Schools Aid Act (ESAA) -- category 658

Haitian American Community Association -- category 575

Haitian American Political Organization (HAPO) -- categories 665, 575

Haitian Refugee Center (HRC) -- categories 167, 747

Haitian Task Force (HTF) -- categories 441, 452, 179

Human Relations Committee (HRC) -- an agency of the Evanston, Illinois government -- category 633

immigrant remittance -- category 457

Information Center for Haitians (ICH) -- category 575

rotating credit associations -- categories 452, 454

SANGNE -- see rotating credit associations service centers, neighborhood -- category 747

voodoo cults -- category 794

Indexing Notes by

John Beierle

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