HAITI: The Dry-Cleaning Knight

One day in 1946 Jimmy Plinton, a U.S. Negro visiting Haiti, tried to send a pair of pants to the cleaners. This event set off a wondrous chain reaction which 1) revolutionized Haitians' dress habits; 2) started a major new business in Haiti; and 3) turned Jimmy into one of the most popular characters in the little (Maryland-size) Black Republic.

Like many an American before him whose clothes had wilted in the Haitian heat, Jimmy Plinton found, when he tried to get his pants cleaned, that Haiti had no dry-cleaning plant. He also found that this fact has all sorts of...

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