First-ever Haitian heritage center set for Boston's West End

For years, Haitian American activists have sought a space in the city to serve as a hub to celebrate the achievements, history, and rich culture of one Boston’s largest immigrant populations. Now, they’ve found it along Boston’s waterfront, in a 2,000-square-foot-storefront space in a new building on Lovejoy Wharf, near North Station and the TD Garden.

Is this the authentic face of Toussaint L'Ouverture?

Toussaint L'Ouverture portrait by Girardin

“Images are not arguments, rarely even lead to proof, but the mind, craves them, and, of late more than ever, the keenest experiments find twenty images better than one, especially if contradictory; since the human mind has already learned to deal in contradictions.”
— Henry Adams, A Law of Acceleration

If there is one important historical figure from the early nineteenth century who has been consistently misrepresented through imagery, it would have to be Toussaint L’Ouverture. One would think that as a minimum, someone of his ilk and significance to Haitian history and the overall contribution to humanity’s fight for equality, freedom and dignity, a proper physical representation of his figure would be easily accessible. However, that has not been the case.

As we know, images are powerful tools. Unfortunately, they are often conjured and perpetuated by the victors of history, and are thus prone to reimaging and propaganda. Predictably, the essence of Toussaint over the years has suffered a vast distortion and vilification that has been seared into our minds as we remember him as a figure that was either homely and diminutive, or at times ostentatious and imposing – perhaps misrepresentative of his legacy.

In March of last year, after Haiti’s tragic earthquake, a friend of mine, researcher, Mario Valdes, whom I had the opportunity to work with at PBS Frontline, emailed me a photograph of what may be the only historically accurate painting of Toussaint, shattering any and all previous notions I held about his physical appearance and affect.

Protect Your Dream with ConnectorCare

The growth of people working for themselves is one of the biggest economic changes to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few years, many people left their jobs to follow their dreams and work independently. This has resulted in more gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors than ever before. Independent work provides flexibility and freedom, but often leads to stress when it comes time to navigate the process of enrolling in health insurance coverage.

This is Donald Alexis's mission: Keep Mattapan authentic one development at a time

Don Alexis was first attracted to Mattapan and Blue Hill Avenue when he was 18 and visiting family shortly after immigrating from Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. The diaspora culture and the history of the neighborhood gave him the familiar vibe of home that he had left behind in the Caribbean.

It was a feeling that now, as the director of Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) – Mattapan’s only community development corporation – he is trying to preserve and create for others in building affordable rental and homeownership housing units throughout the area.

Board delays vote on St. Matthew convent-to-condos project in Dorchester

The Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday deferred a vote on a developer's proposal to turn the former St. Matthew convent, 43-45 Stanton St. in Dorchester, into 14 condos - two of them affordable - to give the developer and neighbors a couple more months to try to reach agreement on the size of the project, in particular, its roof.

City election will bring new faces to council

Polls open on Tuesday, 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Boston’s local election cycle toggles between higher turnout years, with campaigns for City Council and Mayor, and “off years,” with only a race for the council. But 2023 is shaping up to be one of the “way off” years, when a dearth of expected at-large vacancies and candidates can flatten the curve on voter turnout.

Recalling the day the earth shook in Haiti

A woman mourned among the wreckage in Delmas, Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the Jan. 10, 2010 earthquake. AP photo

On Jan.12, 2010, I woke up to a sunny day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In a few hours, I would be heading to Toussaint L’Ouverture Airport to fly back to Boston after a two-week vacation in my parents’ homeland, a break from the winter cold that my big family looked forward to every year.

I gave hugs and kisses to my dad, my aunts, uncles, and grandmother who had decided to extend their stay a little longer. My little brother, two of my aunts, and I headed home.

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