Prince Saunders and his contribution to Haiti

Born in the United States in 1775, Prince Saunders used the luck he found early in life to help blacks during a time of rampant racism and ignorance. Raised and later sent to university by George Oramel Hinckley, a white lawyer, Saunders was given the type of education coveted by many regardless of color or circumstance.


At 21, after attending Darthmouth College, Saunders was helped by college president John Wheelock into a teaching position at a school for African-Americans and joined a Masonic lodge, wherein he would soon rise to become the secretary.

During this early stage of his teaching career, Saunders persuaded Abiel Smith, a white merchant, to issue grants supporting black education. This endowment was granted and continued even after Smiths death, until the city taxes in Boston began giving support.

Through the lodge, Saunders traveled to England in 1815 and left a trail of impressed men behind of the likes of famous abolitionist, William Wilberforce and Emperor Henri Christophe. The former had facilitated the relationship between Saunders and Christophe, and the association would later bear significant fruit for Haiti.

As a courier to the emperor, Saunders created a massive personal store of knowledge on the Haitian government. Soon he published papers that served as commentary focused on the emperor's rule and he also translated the Haitian laws into English. He would use his influence to bring English teachers back to Haiti, provided the first vaccinations in the country and set up many schools.

Perhaps his most memorable legacy, at least where Haiti is concerned, was his thwarted attempt to colonize Haiti, described to American blacks as the New World's paradise. He'd persuaded the emperor to send a ship to Philadelphia, but the Haitian army rose against it and took over the capital. The plans ended with Christophe's suicide, which put permanent paid to the affair.

Despite the ghastly events, including that the new Haitian government closed his schools, Saunders eventually settled in Haiti, until his death in 1839.

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Read more: Education, School, Boston, Henri Christophe, Racism, Vaccination, Prince Saunders, Abiel Smith, People

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