Estimé, Dumarsais (1900–1953)

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Estimé, Dumarsais (1900–1953)

Dumarsais Estimé (b. 1900; d. 20 July 1953), president of Haiti (1946–1950). A native of Verrettes and a former mathematics teacher at the Lycée Pétion, Estimé was a member of the National Assembly and secretary of education before becoming president. He came to power on 16 August 1946 with the support of elite blacks (members of the Noiriste Party) who had been excluded from government under the regime of Élie Lescot.

Lasting until 10 May 1950, Estimé's government also drew support initially from young radicals and Communists who looked forward to a social revolution that would benefit Haiti's black masses, both workers and peasants. Although it never went far enough to satisfy leftist desires, the government did make use of its popular mandate to carry out genuine reforms. In addition to granting greater liberty of speech and the press, Estimé established a populist and nationalist program that embraced inclusion of blacks in the state patronage system; support for unions; social legislation recognizing workers' rights; public education; attempts to curb U.S. economic control of the country, in part by breaking up the Standard Fruit Company's monopoly on banana production; and the agreement with the Export-Import Bank to finance the Artibonite Valley irrigation project. Estimé also encouraged development of Haiti's tourist industry by granting credits to the hotel business and investing millions of dollars in an international fair celebrating the founding of Port-au-Prince (1949). He was exiled to the United States and died in New York City.

See alsoBanking: Overview; Haiti; Tourism.


Rayford W. Logan, Haiti and the Dominican Republic (1968).

David Nicholls, From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour and National Independence in Haiti (1979), and "Haiti Since 1930," in The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 7, edited by Leslie Bethell (1990), pp. 545-577.

Additional Bibliography

Smith, Matthew Jordan. "Shades of Red in a Black Republic: Radicalism, Black Consciousness, and Social Conflict in Post-Occupation Haiti, 1934–1957." Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 2002.

Voltaire, Frantz. Pouvoir noir en Haïti: L'explosion de 1946. Mont-Royal: V & R éditeurs; Montreal: Editions du CIDIHCA, 1988.

                                           Pamela Murray