Pierre Toussaint was born in Haiti in 1766 and was brought to New York City as a slave. He gained access to skills such as reading, writing and hair dressing, where he quickly learned the trade. Once his master died, he used his trade skills to support the other house slaves so that they would not be sold. Once a free man, he donated to charities, opened a home and school for orphans and nursed people suffering from yellow fever. A venerable, he is in the process of becoming a saint.