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Bellegarde, Dantès (1877-1966)

W.E.B. DuBois once lauded Dantès Bellegarde as the "International Spokesman of Black Folk" for his active career as a Haitian diplomat, historian, and advocate for the ending of United States occupation of Haiti.

Louis-Dantès Bellegarde was born on May 18, 1877 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  He was raised in a poor mulatto family.  His impoverished yet petite-bourgeoisie background descended from several figures in Haitian history; his maternal great-grandfather Jacques Ignace-Fresnal was an Army officer, Haiti"s first minister of justice, and the founder of Haitian Freemasonry.  His paternal grandfather, General Jean-Louis Bellegarde, was a former Governor of Port-au-Prince.

Dantès Bellegarde was also a devout family man.  In 1902, he married Cécile Savain, then a schoolteacher, and together they had seven children: Auguste, Argentine, Jeanne, Marie, Simon, Fernande, and Jean Bellegarde.  Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, a contemporary leading scholar in Haitian Studies, is the grandson of Dantès Bellegarde.

Bellegarde was educated in Haitian schools and gained a baccalaureate from Haiti"s Lycée Pétion in Letters and Sciences with top honors. Dantès Bellegarde was soon afterwards appointed as the Haitian minister to Paris in 1921.  This was the beginning of an extensive international political career.  His posts for the Haitian government included the Ministry of Education where he offered sweeping reformatory ideas for the Haitian educational system, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Public Instruction.  Bellegarde"s dedication to the masses of Haitian citizens led him to criticize the United States military occupation of Haiti (1915-1933) at the League of Nations. 

In 1921, Bellegarde became a key participant in the Second Pan-African Congress, forming lasting ties and relationships with other Pan-Africanists such as W.E.B. DuBois, Rayford Logan, and Jean Price-Mars.  At the Fourth Pan-African Congress in 1931, Bellegarde presented a recommendation for an inter-dependent economic policy between the United

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