The Miami Herald has just published a moving portrait of Viter Juste, a pillar of the community of Little Haiti in Miami, written by Viter’s son Carl. Juste, a native of Gonaïves, Haiti, where he was born in 1924, migrated from Haiti to New York during the Vietnam War and settled with his family in Miami in 1973:
“In 1973, we moved to Miami via car and U-Haul. Father had heard that Haitians were traveling to Nassau to get records, books and other items from Haiti. In 1974, he opened his first record store. The next year, he opened Les Cousins, a record and book store, in downtown Miami. In the early ’80s, father and other community members objected to the Dade School Board’s policy of prohibiting children of undocumented Haitians from attending school. He wrote letters, rallied others and declared he would find a large tree, place chairs beneath it and teach the children himself. The School Board changed its policy, and father and others founded the Haitian American Community Association of Dade (HACAD), which fought discrimination against Haitians. Father dreamed of a corridor along Northeast Second Avenue with Haitian businesses, churches and cultural organizations. He moved Les Cousins to the 7800 block of Northeast Second Avenue, where it thrived for nearly 25 years. Father believed the name ’Little Port-au-Prince’ was too long, so he called the area ‘Little Haiti.’ It stuck.”
Viter Juste is among those featured in David C. Brown’s book, The Story of Little Haiti, Featuring its Pioneers.
For the profile by Carl Juste go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/issues_ideas/story/1028082.html