Haiti Untold


David Gilkey/NPR

After the earthquake in 2010, about 1,000 people were living in tents on the median of Highway 2, one of Haiti's busiest roads.

Haiti has a proud history. It was here that thousands of slaves threw off their French colonial masters in the first successful slave revolt in history. It was here, too, that the first black republic was established, in 1804.

These days, however, Haiti is a country we associate with earthquakes, coups and corruption. And grinding poverty.

How did this proud and powerful country become the one we know today — the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most unequal in the world?

In Haiti Untold, we attempt to answer these questions and uncover the Haiti we don’t know.

Most Americans have only a cursory knowledge of their neighboring country, mediated by TV images of disasters, both natural and human-made. 

Who knows about the slave rebellion and the establishment of the first black republic? Who knows about the reparations that Haiti was forced to pay to France for its freedom?

Who knows about the brutal 20-year American occupation of Haiti? Who knows that Haiti was once seen as a beacon of hope, and a place to migrate to, for many people of color in the Americas and elsewhere?

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