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Haitian Immigration : Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Studying the Haitian Immigration Lesson Plan: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
This lesson is designed for use with the narrative Haitian Immigration: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Students will use the site maps and other resources to investigate the profound influence Haiti's population has had on the politics, people, and culture of present day Louisiana.
Grade Levels:Middle and high school, grades 9-12
For use with:Haitian Immigration: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Concentration Area:History: U.S. Government
National Curriculum Standards met by this lesson
The standards for this lesson conform to those set by the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McRel).
Students will understand

  • The impact of the Louisiana Purchase (e.g., its influence on politics, economics and the concept of Manifest Destiny; how it affected relations with Native Americans and Spanish inhabitants of the Louisiana Territory).
  • How slavery influenced economic and social elements of southern society and hindered the emergence of capitalist institutions and values, the influence of slavery on the middle class, the influence of slave revolts on the lives of slaves and freed slaves.
Time required
From two traditional class periods to two weeks, depending on depth and breadth of student research
Materials needed
Anticipatory Set

  1. Draw the State of Louisiana on the board or overhead and ask students to tell you what they know about this State.
  2. Write their responses on the board or overhead. (Possible responses include Louisiana being a southern state or part of the land purchased from France, having a substantial French population with a continuing cultural influence, and being in close proximity to Caribbean islands.)
  3. Have students take notes of the items mentioned in their journals.

  1. Have the map of the migration on the overhead projector or on students' computer screens. (link to map of this migration)
  2. Hand out copies of the narrative, or, if students are online, they can read it on their screens. If the reading level of the class is low, you may opt to read and stop at intervals to check for understanding.
  3. Once the students have read through the narrative, have them start filling in any information that they can based on the following series of springboard questions:

    1. What are the dates, from beginning to end, that frame this migration. Where is the point (or where are the points) of origin of the people?
    2. What was their existing circumstance in that location? How did conditions differ from the city to country plantations and estates?
    3. Why did they leave?
    4. How many left?
    5. Where did they go?
    6. How did they choose their destination(s)? Were the destinations chosen before they embarked upon their journeys, or were they arbitrary in nature?
    7. What was the economic result of their immigration for both countries?
    8. What hardships did they endure because of their immigration?
    9. What is the legacy today of this migration in both the points of origin and destination?
    10. How does this migration fit in with the other migrations (can only be done if studying a group of migrations)? Are there any connections between migrations?
    11. How is the tone of this migration different from the others?
  4. For any unanswered questions, direct students to other resources, such as the gateway, other areas of the site, or library resources.
  5. So they can continue their study, instruct students to research life in present day Louisiana. They can write to the Conventions and Visitors Bureau in a specific city in Louisiana to get further information. They can search library sources for links from Louisiana's history of Haiti's migration to the present day. Ask students to consider what evidence there is in Louisiana today that these immigrants had a profound influence on the politics, people, and culture of that State? Historical facts, census information, statues or monuments, communities within larger cities, culturally distinct businesses, celebrations, or customs and community leaders are just some of the possibilities of evidence that students could find.
  6. Then, have students organize their notes into a paper proving that Haitian immigrants had a profound influence on the politics, people, and culture of Louisiana. Tell students that they need to include at least four items as proof of this influence and that they need to use at least three references and include a bibliography.

Grade students' papers using the rubric below. With a total of 16 points possible, figure a letter grade from the number of points each student earns.

Grading Criteria Excellent(4) Good(3) Unsatisfactory(2) Poor(1)
Organization Information is in a logical, interesting sequence, which the reader can easily follow. Information is presented in a sequence the reader can follow. Reader has difficulty following the work because the student jumps around. Sequence of information is difficult to follow.
Content and Knowledge Student has four convincing items of proof of the influence of the immigrants. Student includes three convincing items as proof of the influence of the immigrants. Student includes two convincing items as proof of the influence of the immigrants. Student doesn't have a grasp of the information at all.
Grammar and Spelling The writing has no grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has two or fewer grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has three or four grammatical or spelling errors. The writing has more than four grammatical or spelling errors.
References The bibliography is written correctly with at least two references. The bibliography has minor errors in it. The bibliography has several errors in it. The bibliography has numerous errors in it.

Related Works
Interdisciplinary Links

  • Foreign Language: Because Haiti was a colony of France prior to its independence, most documents must be translated from French to English. Students may collaborate with the French teacher to translate the banking document above at:
  • Sociology: As part of their studies of the migrant and immigrant experience, students will look at continuity and change down the generations from the original immigrants. Students will examine the role of the following in perpetuating cultural heritage: language, religion, food, traditional songs and dances, and distinctions in the roles of men and women. Students also may wish to look more closely at the Haitian example or look at other recent immigrants or immigrants from an earlier era (Chinese, Greeks, European Jews, Italians, Irish, Germans, Scandinavians). Alternately, they may wish to analyze the conflicts and compromises between the generations in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
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