An Exploration of Haitian Contributions to American Society

On March 8, 2017, the Embassy of Haiti in Washington, DC launched a new initiative called the “Pearls of Excellence: An Exploration of Haitian Contributions to American Society”, which consists of an ongoing exhibit and an educational series to mark historical milestones of Haitians in American society.

Each month, the Embassy displays on its walls an esteemed group of individuals of Haitian descent who have made major contributions to the advancement of American society. To launch this historic initiative, the Embassy focused on the contributions of women of Haitian descent in the fields of civil rights, medicine, government, professional sports, literature and education during the month of March to honor Women’s History Month. The inaugural display of the “Pearls of Excellence” includes award-winning writer, Edwidge Danticat; Marie St Fleur, the First Haitian-American elected to state office in the United States; Josephine Premice, one of the premiere stage actresses of the ‘40s and ‘50s who appeared in several Broadway plays; and Septima Poinsette Clark, an educator and civil rights leader whose citizenship schools helped drive one of the largest voter education initiatives for African Americans in the United States.

New figures will be added to the display walls monthly. To enhance the list, the Haitian Embassy invites you to submit nominations of major figures of Haitian descent who meet the following criteria:

  • Born in Haiti or born to Haitian parents (either father or mother) or naturalized as Haitian citizens; and
  • Made history through significant professional achievement; changed a major discipline; broke major barriers; or produced innovations to reshape society.

Please submit your nominations to amb.washington@diplomatie.ht 

As part of the Embassy’s mission to highlight Haiti’s rich culture and history, this exhibit, like many of our other initiatives, is open to the public, at no charge. We invite you to come discover the many trailblazers of Haitian descent whose contributions led to the advancement of this country. Bring your friends, family and work colleagues to (re)discover Haiti through our renovated Embassy. Also on display is an extensive art collection from prominent Haitian artists as well as historic memorabilia. The Embassy’s doors are now open to all individuals and groups for a guided tour. Encourage the local schools in your area to reach out to the Embassy. We would be delighted to offer the younger generations a glimpse into Haiti’s vibrant culture and history.

These initiatives fit into a broader strategy of showcasing Haiti and Haitians in a more positive light. I ask that we align our efforts and embark on this movement to change the narrative about our beloved Haiti and its people.

Exhibit Information:

Location: Embassy of Haiti, 2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20008

Tour Hours: The exhibit can be viewed from Monday through Friday between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm at the Embassy of Haiti.

Extended Tour Hours: Extended viewing hours are also offered during our Open House series on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 am until 8:00 pm.

Special Viewing: The Embassy is happy to arrange a tour outside of the exhibit viewing days to professional groups, associations and schools.

Fee: Admission is free.

Contact Information: Embassy of Haiti, (202) 332 – 4090, amb.washington@diplomatie.ht