Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Alexander Dawson. Ph. D.

Committee Member

Michitake Aso, Ph. D.


In 1937, dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the massacre of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent along the border dividing Dominican Republic and Haiti. This killing of over 20,000 people was informed by an ideology known as anti-Haitianism, which formed under the guise of Trujillo’s “Dominicanization” policy. After Trujillo’s death, his allies created a political dynasty that has helped to shift this anti-Haitian sentiment from a state sponsored ideology to a social norm that has prevailed to the present. This anti-Haitian sentiment is used to control and abuse immigrant Haitian sugar workers. It made thousands of people stateless as of 2013. Yet the massacre has been mostly forgotten. My thesis examines how this forgetting was carried out and used by Dominican elites. It argues that educational policy has been central in the control of the Haitian massacre narrative. By not discussing and understanding the significance of this event and the hate that has emerged from it, Dominicans have followed the anti-Haitian agenda of the people in power. I use a combination of oral histories, newspaper reports, and government documents to demonstrate this repeated manipulation of history. My thesis discusses the importance of education in this racial tension and memory of the genocide, which scholars have not yet discussed. I show how the continual manipulation of the memory of this massacre over time has affected the way that Dominicans more generally think about past and present injustices that Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent face in the country.