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Before he became president of Haiti, Dumarsais Estimé was elected deputy to the National Assembly in 1930 and later served as minister of education in the cabinet of President Sténio Vincent. In his education post, he funded or raised teacher salaries; mandated vaccinations in primary schools; made sports obligatory in all schools, both public and private; and initiated interscholastic sports competitions. In 1946 he was elected president by the National Assembly. Estimé was supported by the black intelligentsia and represented the return to power of the black elite, after the ouster of mulatto president Elie Lescot. Not widely liked at the time he took office, Estimé went on to become one of Haiti's most popular leaders.

As president Estimé launched populist and nationalist reforms in the areas of labor legislation education health care and sanitation He supported projects to attract tourism to the island notably the Universal ...