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The Story of Little Haiti, Part 1
Featuring its Pioneers, book launch Reception. Dedicated to the Miami's Haitian Community, by David C. Brown, M.A
Photos by Rachel Moscoso Denis
Little Haiti and Miami's Haitian community have a rich history.This booklet, geared toward younger readers, as well as a general audience, and was also inspired by my working with the Haitian community over the past thirteen years.
The research for this work has been compiled over the last nine years, since 1997, and has truly been a labor of love. Every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate. This work is based on historical recollection through oral history interviews.
Many of the early pioneers ( 1965-1979 ), along with some of the current community leaders, are featured with brief bios and some with charcoal sketches by artist Willer Fils-Aime.
It is every intention that this piece, and the ones that follow, will be empowering to the community, especially Haitian children who have not had many resources available to them to document the history of their community. It is also my hope that through this writing more people will perceive Little Haiti as a positive place to visit now and in the future.
First, I would like to thank our two interns, Maria Pierrette and D. Barly-Rincha Nicolas. I am also grateful to the City of Miami Haitian Bicentennial Committee-2004 (Jean Robert Lafortune, Dr Rudolph Moise, Co-chairs).
We also appreciate the support of the Green Family Foundation and the Wallack Family Foundation. A very special thank you to the artist who drew the sketches, Willer Fils-aime.
Thank you to the folowing pioneer families who have spent a great deal of time with us to make this a success: Nassar, Jean-Louis, Juste, Louissaint, Exullien, Fleurizard, and Cayard.
I am also very grateful to Father Reginald of Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church, Anna Souto of the Archidiose of Greater Miami, Nadia Pierre, office of the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Jeffy Mondesir, office of the Mayor of the City of Miami, Gepsie Metellus, the late District 5 Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., former City of Miami, District 5 Commissioner Jeffrey Allen, current District 5 Commissioner, Michelle Spence-Jones, and Fequiere Vilsaint with Educa Vision.
A special gratitude to the following friends, family and associates who provided encouragement and support for the project: Mrs Rita Brown, Alexandra Barbot, Ms. Beatrice Cazeau, Esq., Rachel Moscoso Denis, Marie Jo Toussaint,Esq., Marie Josee Ledan, St Louis Fleurizard, Michaelle Vincent, and Monique Dodard Kanzki.
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Mrs Viter Juste in green, Dr Lucie Casthelly in the 2nd row