IDEA #3: Honor the courage of Haitian Refugees

During the 1980s, courageous Haitians took small fishing boats to seek a new home in the USA.  Let’s honor their courage with a public art project.   If you did not know, around 10,000 people in Pompano Beach are Haitian Americans.

In October, 1981, the Haitian sailboat La Nativite embarked on an 800 mile voyage from the impoverished island to Florida. Its cargo consisted of over 60 refugees. After a number of days at sea, the boat arrived off the Hillsboro Inlet. Supposedly, the ship’s captain was looking for a dock at which to land the refugees, but decided to anchor offshore to wait for daylight before approaching the shore.

Haitian refugees in boat off Florida coast in early 1980s.

Haitian refugees in boat off Florida coast in early 1980s.

During the darkness, the the ocean became choppy and large waves began to break over the side of the La Nativite, causing the boat to flounder. Thirty passengers were able to survive, but the morning light revealed the bodies of 33 Haitians on the sands of Hillsboro Beach.By the end of 1981, over 40,000 Haitian “boat people” had sought refuge in Florida.  (Reference:  Dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, ( “Baby Doc” ) was the President of Haiti from 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986 )

Crashed Haitian Boat in the Florida Keys

Crashed Haitian Boat in the Florida Keys

Haitians in Miami Refugee Camp 1981

Haitians in Miami Refugee Camp 1981

Haitian Restaurants

Au-Bon-Gout Restaurant
5273 N Dixie Hwy

Pain du Jour Bakery & Cafe
1611 S. Federal Highway

DANILOS RESTAURANT – A Haitian restaurant
3760 Ne 3rd Ave.

Boulangerie La Caridad (Caridad Bakery)
341 Martin Luther King Blvd

Churches

St Joseph Haitian Catholic Church
1210 NW 6th Ave

First Haitian Baptist Church of Pompano
311 SE 3rd Ct

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