Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Edwidge Danticat visited the Massacre River in 1995 and was surprised by the domestic routines taking place. The people at the river were unaware of the brutal killings that had taken place there years ago. Realizing that the horrific occurrences of the 1937 massacre had been forgotten, Danticat was determined to memorialize the victims and their suffering, by telling their stories and spreading knowledge. In 1937, the President of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, commanded his army to kill all Haitians. The majority were killed with machetes as ordered by Trujillo. Thousands were killed in the process of attempting to return to Haiti. Trujillo’s supposed inspiration for the massacre started when the Dominicans complained of Haitian thefts. He reassured his people that he would stop this treachery. His real motive however was to segregate the two peoples. He wanted to separate the Dominicans from the Haitians to establish more control and provide a clear division between the two countries. With tens of thousands of Haitians dead after five days of killing the result was only that Trujillo's power was weakened. Ultimately, Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.
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