"Gason konn bouke, men pa fanm": Black Women Workers and the United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


History, African American Studies


“Gason konn bouke, men pa fanm,” taken from a Haitian proverb meaning “women’s work never ends,” examines the texture of everyday life and the nature of human relationships for working women in Haiti during the nineteen-year US military occupation. It draws upon previously uncited materials in four languages including songs, newspapers, native court records, ethnographies, visual art, and organizational memos culled from archives in Haiti, Canada, and the United States. This research foregrounds Black women’s voices and argues that their physical labor, care work, and intellectual production during a moment of revolutionary conflict bear examination. This timely corrective to masculinist histories of the US Occupation of Haiti traverses The Black Republic from the bustling urban marketplace to the beleaguered countryside to find women workers. Their stories reveal how the US imperial foray in twentieth-century Haiti contributed to the development of modern notions of race and gender.