Radio Haiti papers, circa 1934-2003, bulk 1968-2003
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- Radio Haiti-Inter
- Radio Haïti-Inter was Haiti's first and most prominent independent radio station from the early 1970s until 2003. Under the direction of Jean Léopold Dominique and Michèle Montas, Radio Haiti was a voice of social change and democracy, speaking out against oppression and impunity while advocating for human rights and celebrating Haitian culture and heritage. The Radio Haiti papers contain mainly the station's on-air scripts and research materials covering a wide variety of subjects. The Radio Haiti audio recordings are described in a separate collection guide.
- 80 Linear Feet (197 boxes; 2 oversize folders; and digital photographs)
- Materials primarily in French and Haitian Creole (Kreyòl).
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
Radio Haiti was based in downtown Port-au-Prince on Rue du Quai until 28 November 1980, when Jean-Claude Duvalier's government cracked down on the independent press and human rights activists. Radio Haiti was ransacked, and the station's journalists were arrested then exiled. Many, though not all, of the paper record from the 1970s were destroyed in the 1980 crackdown. Radio Haiti reopened after Duvalier fell in 1986, in a new building on Route Delmas. The station closed again after the 30 September 1991 coup d'état that overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and reopened in 1995 after the democratic government was restored. As a result of the repression the station and its journalists endured, most of the materials in Radio Haiti's paper archive span 1986 to 1991, and 1995 to 2003, though it also contains extensive external print materials (mainly newspapers and magazines) that Jean Dominique collected while in exile from 1980 to 1986 and from 1991 to 1994.
"Radio Haiti materials" refers to documents created by Radio Haiti's staff. These are mainly on-air scripts, but also include notes and correspondence. "External materials" refers to materials created by outside sources, which were used for research purposes by Radio Haiti's staff. These include, but are not limited to, press (Haitian, Haitian diaspora, and international news outlets), press releases, petitions and open letters from grassroots groups and civil society organizations, reports and other publications, and government communiqués and decrees.
- Biographical / historical:
Radio Haïti-Inter was Haiti's first and most prominent independent radio station from the early 1970s until 2003. Under the direction of Jean Léopold Dominique and Michèle Montas, Radio Haiti was a voice of social change and democracy, speaking out against oppression and impunity while advocating for human rights and celebrating Haitian culture and heritage. The Radio Haiti papers contain mainly the station's on-air scripts and research materials.
The Radio Haiti collection is perhaps the most thorough documentation of late 20th century Haitian politics and history, including but not limited to the Duvalier regime and its aftermath; the nascent democratic movement amid military rule under the Conseil National de Gouvernement in the late 1980s; the first presidency, overthrow, return, and second presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide; the aftermath of the 1991-1994 coup years during which Haiti's democratically-elected government was in exile; and the first presidency of René Préval. Radio Haiti both covered and spoke out against impunity, calling for justice for victims of human rights violations and political oppression as well as victims of corruption and corporate malfeasance. With his background as an agronomist, Jean Dominique focused in particular on the political and land rights of dispossessed peasant farmers and the need for Haiti to strengthen and support national agricultural production. Radio Haiti advocated for freedom of the press and documented repression of the independent media, covered grassroots organizations and women's rights campaigns. Radio Haiti covered international relations, including the plight of undocumented Haitian refugees fleeing to the United States or the Bahamas (so-called "boat people"), Haitian cane-cutters in the Dominican Republic and repatriations of Haitian people from the Dominican Republic, US policy toward Haiti and US involvement in Haitian politics, neoliberal reform and structural adjustment policies. Radio Haiti promoted and showcased Haitian art and culture, including painting and sculpture, literature, poetry, theatre, music, history and national heritage, and other intellectual production. They highlighted Vodou as a meaningful and important part of national culture worthy serious analysis. The station focused extensively on key moments of repression and injustice, such as the 1987 Jean Rabel massacre of peasant farmers and the 1994 Raboteau massacre of Aristide partisans by the military and FRAPH paramilitary, and on important assassinations and disappearances, including but certainly not limited to liberation theology priests Jean-Marie Vincent and Jean "Ti Jan" Pierre-Louis, and, of course, the hired killing of Radio Haiti's own director, Jean Léopold Dominique.
Radio Haiti afforded as much consideration and airtime to the voices and concerns of peasant farmers from rural Haiti, members of grassroots organizations, Haitian braceros living on Dominican bateys, and residents of poor urban neighborhoods as it did to prominent politicians and intellectuals. By reporting largely in Haitian Creole, the language that all Haitians speak and understand, Radio Haiti made media and communication truly democratic, and showed Creole could be a language of serious political and intellectual inquiry.
- Acquisition information:
- The Radio Haiti Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 2013.
- Processing information:
Processed by Laura Wagner, October 2015 to March 2018.
Accessions described in this collection guide: 2013-0147
In keeping with Radio Haiti's original order, the papers are organized by subject. It should be noted that these subjects frequently overlap (for example, materials about repression of peasant farmers by the army in the late 1980s can be found under "Army," "Human Rights," "Peasant Movements" and "Provisional Governments").
- Rules or conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- Radio Haiti-Inter
Human Rights -- Haiti
- Montas, Michèle, 1946
Dominique, Jean L. (Jean Leopold)
Duvalier, François, 1907-1971
Duvalier, Jean-Claude, 1951-2014
Haiti -- History -- Coup d'état, 1991
Haiti -- History -- American intervention, 1994-1995
Haiti -- History
Haiti -- Politics and government
Haiti -- Politics and government -- 20th century
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Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Radio Haiti Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.