Rare photo of Madame Masséna Peralte, circa 1936. CIDIHCA Archives. Madame Peralte was Charlemagne Peralte’s mother, the famous Cacos leader opposed to the American Marine Occupation (1915-1934).
While a law already existed in Haitian cannons to that effect (but had rarely been deployed to the point of having been forgotten by many), in 1916, the Americans re-instituted the corvée, in order to build roads that would facilitate mouvements for the Marines. In practice, the Marines would force every Haitian on chosen locations to work on specific infrastructure projects for that day. Haitian folklore suggests that Prelate’s own mother (who was already an aged lady by this time) had been walking one day when she was taken with a group of Haitians to work on a construction field. This would have in turn enraged (and humiliated) Peralte very deeply. (Source) (Source)