Remembering Savannah

Officials gather to remember Haitian soldiers of American Revolutionary War

It was a special night of Remembrance last Friday as numerous ministers from Haiti, as well as leaders from the Diaspora gathered in Savannah, Georgia, to honor the 236th anniversary of the Battle of Savannah on Place Franklin Square, where a monument marks the memory of Haitian soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary battle.

Hosted by the Haitian American Historical Society (based in Miami Shores), the event was attended by Haiti’s Minister of Culture Dithny Joan Raton, Minister of Haitians Living Abroad Robert Labrousse, Consul General of Haiti in Atlanta Gandy Thomas, Director General of National Heritage Preservation Institute Patrick Durandis, Director General of MHAVE Édouard Valmé and Mayor of Cap-Haitien, Yves Althéon. Several members from the Diaspora in Miami also attended to honor the anniversary.

The event was also celebrating the eighth anniversary of the monument. Erected in 2007 and campaigned for by the Haitian American Historical Society (HAHS), the monument depicts the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue, a black regiment recruited from what is now Haiti to the fight for an independent America. The Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue were all volunteers, ten companies of light infantry recruited from amongst the free men of color, including a young future president of Haiti, Henri Christophe. Society members spent a total of seven years drumming up support for the monument from Savannah officials and securing (in two stages) the over $500,000 needed to construct the memorial.

In recognition of the society’s tireless advocacy for preserving Haiti’s historical contribution to the U.S., Minister Labrousse also awarded plagues to Daniel Fils-Aimé, CEO of the HAHS, as well as to the organization.

The HAHS is dedicated to highlighting the contributions of Haitians and Blacks, by researching and compiling data of Haitians and Blacks who have performed deeds of great historical significance in the U.S.

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