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Haitian Influence on Early U.S. Has Been Long Underestimated

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Zephir,Flore (Author)
Newspaper Article
Publication Date:
Aug 2004
Dorchester, Mass., United States, Dorchester, Mass.
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
Caribbean area, History, United States, Blacks, Slavery, Religion, Emigrants and immigration, Culture
Just as dance forms originating from Saint-Domingue made their way into southern culture, religion also left its indelible marks. It is well documented that the Vodou religion in New Orleans began to blossom around 1800 with Sanite Dede, a free woman of color who arrived from Saint-Domingue. The Saint-Domingan Vodou priestess was replaced in 1820 by New Orleans's native Marie Laveau, who became legendary. Haitians were for the most part Catholic; their presence in the various U.S. cities where they settled gave rise to the establishment of a number of biracial congregations. In Baltimore, in 1829, four colored Saint-Domingan women--Elizabeth Lange, Marie Magdelene Baas, Marie Rose Boegue, and Marie Therese Duchemin--established the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the world's first Black religious community, and founded the School for Colored Girls.