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Haitian Immigration : Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
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Oblate Sisters of Providence Archives, Baltimore, Maryland

Elizabeth Lange

In 1792, enticed by Maryland's large Catholic population, thousands of Saint Domingans settled throughout the state with their slaves. By the following year, over five hundred blacks and mulattos arrived. Fearful that they would "pollute" Baltimore and the plantation country with revolutionary ideas about liberty, the state's legislature deemed them "dangerous to the peace and welfare of the city of Baltimore" and prohibited their entrance in 1797. The most famous Haitian refugee in Baltimore was Elizabeth Lange (1784-1882.) She was born in Saint Domingue and immigrated to Cuba with her parents during the revolution. They later settled in Maryland, where the young woman established a school for black children. In 1829 Lange and two other Haitian-born teachers established the first order of black Catholic nuns in the United States, the Oblate Sisters of Providence.

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