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The Consequences of the Haitian Migration
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, General Research and Reference Division

Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston, The Negro in the New World (New York: Macmillan, 1910)

Three Generations, Two Languages

The Civil War and Reconstruction accelerated the process of Americanization and drove Creole and French languages and cultures into increasing isolation. Public schools, temporarily integrated by the Constitution of 1868, outlawed the use of French in the classroom. The constitution also required that all court and municipal records be recorded in English. As a new generation learned to read and write in English, the use of French and Creole became more family-based - spoken at home with parents and grandparents but not in public. The three generations shown here illustrate the process. The grandmother probably spoke only Creole, the mother both Creole and English, and the boy only English. The Haitian immigration had slowed, but not stopped, the Americanization process. It had also left a profound mark on the political, cultural, artistic, religious, and social life of the state.

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