Week 5 was extremely fruitful in terms of finding photos and primary sources to look through. “Racism in U.S. Imperialism” by Rubin Francis Weston was useful in providing a comprehensive look at the U.S. occupation of Haiti, as well as primary source footnotes that will be useful in my exhibit.
I also started putting together the introduction page on my online exhibit. I will be working on pages on topics concerning:
The NAACP and The Nation investigates Haiti
History of U.S. Imperialism and “The White Man’s Burden”
The Monroe Doctrine and its Expansion under Wilson
The Hispaniola Senate Hearings
Haitian Responses to Occupation
Freedom of the Haitian Press
Lasting effects of Occupation
I was also able to find many photos from 1915-1921, but one of the struggles I am facing is finding photos of Haitians. Many of the photos are of Marines and their weapons, bases, and daily life.
I was able to make a trip to Charlottesville in order to pick up some books for my research. Unfortunately, the book that contained the most primary sources had been moved into storage to prepare for upcoming renovations to the library. I have requested the item, so hopefully they are able to find it.
In the next few weeks, I plan on making a trip to Washington, D.C. in order to look at Marine accounts from Haiti in the National Archives. I’m hoping to find source material for the violence being inflicted on the Haitians by the USMC, as claimed in many of The Nation articles. In the meantime, I will be making my way through the books I have now and narrowing in on my exhibit topic.
This week, I read through the NAACP Haiti account written by James Weldon Johnson in 1920. After traveling to Haiti, he summarized his investigation into the current conditions in Haiti and reasons for American intervention. According to Weldon, the U.S. believed Haiti had reached a state of anarchy intolerable in the civilized world, Haitians demonstrated “absolute unfitness” to govern themselves, and Haiti has benefitted from American control.
I have also ready through several articles published in The Nation in 1920 by Johnson and others. In Johnson’s articles, he focused on one topic, like the control the National City Bank had over the finances of Haiti, in order to shed light on the motivations of the United States in occupying Haiti. Helena Hill Weed wrote an article detailing the Senate hearings on Haiti and Santo Domingo, in which several high-ranking officers testified that there was no plan for development in Haiti and the U.S. did not uphold their end of the treaty.
Next, I’m planning to read through the Senate hearing documents in order to have primary source material for the above articles. I am also hoping to find more accounts from the NAACP or The Nation that include the Haitian response to U.S. occupation.
Over the past month or so, I have been working on transcribing the Ellen Axson letters. It has been really interesting to read about all of the different experiences in her life that she recorded. I also really enjoyed seeing the patterns in her writing, both with her handwriting and different words and phrases she used a lot in her writing. Now I’m working with Archives Space and uploading the Grayson collection finding aids to the site. The next agenda is continued work on the finding aids project, as well as working on digitizing the Grayson photo collection.
Last week, I was able to finish labelling and describing our Haiti sources. I made note of interesting texts that I would like to revisit when putting together my online exhibit. I was especially looking for sources that revealed the intentions of the U.S. occupation. I also began looking for visuals from the Library of Congress and National Archives. I’ve found many newspaper articles from the very beginning of the U.S. occupation, and I am still making my way through years of clippings on the LOC website.
I am starting to finalize my online exhibit topics, and I am hoping to focus on three topics: