Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Arbre de la liberté: Ayiti, Haiti, and Hayti

I had a chance to go back to my roots this weekend in North Carolina. It’s always a good trip because I am always able to learn something new about my people and about the state. Did you know that there is an area near Durham, NC known as Hayti? As a matter of fact, it was the first documented use of the name Hayti; the name was found on a land deed in 1877 for a lot sold on the southeast end of the city to a group of African American citizens.

I’m sure you recognize the resemblance in spelling to the Independent Island nation of Haiti or Ayiti (Land of Mountains).

The origin of this obvious dedication and admiration to the Island nation of Haiti is unknown, but it should be noted that US map makers as early as 1867 referred to all black settlements as Hayti. Some historians also feel that the newly freed Africans in America felt a kinship with the people of Haiti in their continued fight for freedom and independence.

Definition: arbre de la liberté (Liberty tree)
Information Source: soulofamerica.com

Map Sources: www.ah.dcr.state.nc.u and remax-caribbeanislands.com
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