Haitian community flourishing in Mount Olive

Posted February 15, 2012

— The small Wayne County town of Mount Olive is best known for its pickles, but it is now getting worldwide attention for its changing demographics.

Nearly 1,000 Haitian immigrants have settled in Mount Olive since 2010 and now account for almost one-sixth of the town's population.

Suzette Lubin was one of the first Haitians who moved to Mount Olive in the past two years. She now runs a store catering to that segment of the local population.

"I sell products from Haiti here. Everyone likes what I sell here," Lubin said Wednesday.

Like many others, Lubin moved her family to Wayne County from Florida, where the economy is even more sluggish.

"The people needed jobs. That's why the people are coming here," she said. "It's better here for me."

Most migrate to Mount Olive to work at one of the many surrounding poultry processing plants.

Haitians in Mount Olive 'Little Haiti' springs up in Wayne County town

Town Manager Charles Brown said those are crucial local jobs that not everyone wants.

"It's hard work. It's dirty work," Brown said.

Mount Olive initially faced some housing and crowding issues, but they have since improved, he said.

"It is a big bump when you've got a town this size and you absorb that. It took a little adjusting," he said.

The Haitians' story recently got some international attention when the BBC profiled the changing face of Mount Olive.

There are now several Haitian shops in town aside from Lubin's, and a Haitian restaurant has even opened.

"The people that are here have jobs. They are making money and adding to the local economy," Brown said. "It's probably been beneficial to Mount Olive."


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  • censorbait Feb 16, 2012

    Beneficial to Mt. Olive?? Wait and see. The quality of life there is headed downward.

  • JohnnyMcRonny Feb 16, 2012

    "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me." - Emma Lazarus (1883)

  • firstperson76 Feb 16, 2012

    I have lived in Mt. Olive all my life. I grew up hanging out uptown at the drug stores, riding my bike and going to the library. We had very little crime. In the past year, the reports of break ins and thefts that are reported in the paper have tripled. The town has hired an off duty police oficer to sit in the library during its hours of operation because people are in there all day getting rowdy and threating the librarians when they tell them to leave. This is the same library that has been broken into at least 4 times in the past few months. I am not saying the people mentioned in this article have anything to do with this but it is strange that all of this did not start happening until we had our "population increase".The "new residents" live in that store that was featured in this article. About 10 of them. They have a Hatian flag in the window of that store and an American flag on their "grocery card". Don't write these articles about how good this is for my town. IT'S NOT.

  • Karmageddon Feb 16, 2012

    As long as they.....learn our language and learn our culture and customs"

    That worked out really well for the natives in this country when the Europeans showed up....or did it?

  • Alex25 Feb 15, 2012

    We need to export freedom and capitalism to places such as Haiti..not more money

  • storchheim Feb 15, 2012

    "What is our offical language? (Hint, we don't have one)"

    And that, my friends, is what you call a straw man.

  • Schpartacus Feb 15, 2012

    "That's all great. But's its too bad Haitians can't flourish in Haiti."

    Excellent point.

  • Realamerican71 Feb 15, 2012

    Great comments so far. Very true, learn the language, manners and our customs and culture. Don't expect us to change our ways to accommodate your culture. You chose to come here for a better life, and that's great. Do not get upset when I can't understand a darned thing you are saying.

  • eyeoneastsky Feb 15, 2012

    I wish them the very best. They have been led here by Divine Providence.

  • jeff27577 Feb 15, 2012

    if they are legal, then they can stay.

    if they are illegal, put them back on the boat and send them home