In the earliest years of the nation, the United States encountered its first refugee “crisis.” The ways in which the country responded has echoes in the individual, community and governmental responses to refugees and migrants today. Both great generosity and hypocrisy were in evidence, as well as fear of others and the welcoming of strangers. Nicholas Foreman wrote about this fascinating episode of US history for the Smithsonian, published in January 5, 2016.
“Between 1791 and 1810, more than 25,000 refugees arrived on American shores from the French colony of Saint-Domingue, the modern-day nation of Haiti. Their homes and plantations, which were the engine behind the world’s most profitable colony in 1790, had been consumed by a bloody conflict that began as an appeal for racial equality, and ended in what historian David Geggus has called “the largest and sole fully successful [slave revolt] there has ever been." (To read the full article, click here.)