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The Tonton Macoutes

Who were the Tonton Macoutes?

Papa Doc François Duvalier became president of Haiti in 1956. During his dictatorship he used the military force of the Tonton Macoutes to ensure power over the people through use of torture and propaganda. Before Duvalier rose to power, he was a doctor and gained the epithet "Papa Doc." The phrase "Tonton Macoutes" translates to "Uncle Gunnysack." In Haitian folklore comes, Uncle Gunnysack out late at night and puts children into his gunnysack. The children are never seen again. The Tonton Macoutes would too come out at night (and even during the day) and take away citizens and dissidents who were never to be seen again. The Tonton Macoutes are also known as the Militia of National Security Volunteers. Duvalier left office in 1964, but the Tonton Macoutes assisted his son Jean "Baby Doc" Duvalier in securing power.

Josiah catalog

Bibliography for more information about Haitian History:

Provided by Barrymore Bogues, PhD, of Brown's Africana Studies Department.


The Intellectual Diaspora

Haitian NYC Community Haitian Diaspora








Haiti Immigration Facts

Linguistically isolated households are households in which either no person age 14+ speaks only English at home, or no person age 14+ who speaks a language other than English at home speaks English "very well."

Intellectual Diaspora

During Duvalier's regime, many of Haiti's intellectuals became expatriates, as they fled to other countries seeking refuge from his reign. Below are maps providing data on Haitian immigration to areas in New York and the United States as a whole.

This data was compiled by Brown University Librarian Thomas Stieve using ArcGIS. The Center of Immigration Studies has provided data on Haitians in the United States.

how did stieve conduct his Immigration research?

"Demographic data was downloaded from U.S. Census and boundaries from and NYC CSCIC. All layers were imported into ARCmap and demographic data was joined to boundary files. Locations of the hospital and college mentioned in the story were plotted using a street locator within the application."

For more information regarding Stieve's research methodology, review the Library Resource Guide for Spatial Data and GIS and the Library FAQs.

Papa Doc's death

François Duvalier died April 22, 1971. He was succeeded by his son Jean "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Many Haitians today are unhappy with the way justice has been dealt to the Duvalier family. An article from Reuters published December 8, 1998 explains why the people want justice for "Baby Doc's" crimes. You can find similar articles using Josiah to search through e-Journals. During Haiti's earthquake, "Baby Doc" pledged to donate $8 million dollars to the Red Cross.

The January 2010 Earthquake

In addition to political turmoil, Haiti has experienced a number of natural disasters. One theory is because much of Haitian land has been razed of trees and shrubbery, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters cause twice as much damage. This is because there is less fortification of the land. Despite the devastation there is still hope as Brown and many other institutions have extended their hands to help the aid and recovery of Haiti. To find out what Brown is doing to help Haiti recover can be found here.