Gary Jean-Enard points to his name on the plaque of Haitian pioneers. He arrived in Miami in November of 1976. (Ashley Miznazi/ The Haitian Times)

Fifty years ago on December 12, 1972, 65 Haitians arrived on the shores of Pompano Beach, about 40 miles north of Miami, in a leaking, wooden boat — escaping the violence and dictatorship of the Duvalier Regime.

Yvon Bruno, the boat’s captain, told the New York Times back in 1972 why he had made the voyage.

“I was in a cell holding eight men, and one night, three of the others were taken out and were never seen again,” Bruno said. “We decided it was time to leave.”

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Ashley Miznazi is a Report for America corps member covering the Haitian community in the South Florida/Miami area for The Haitian Times. Her work will heavily feature photography, video and other multimedia storytelling. Previously, Ashley was a multimedia fellow at The Texas Tribune, where she reported on DACA, Afghan resettlement and the foster care system.