All resources in Virgin Islands History Buffs

Teacher Tools: Where in Africa

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Start Your Expedition! Home to half of the continent's animal species, Africa's vast rainforests are falling silent. Deforestation, road construction and slash-and-burn farming have already wiped out roughly 90 percent of the West Africa's rainforests. Now, the rainforests of Central Africa's Congo Basin, the second largest in the world after the Amazon, have come under the axe, too. For centuries, only scattered groups of native hunter-gatherers and Bantu-speaking subsistence farmers disturbed the forest realm. Then, in the 19th century, European loggers and plantation owners moved in. One of the worst cases of rainforest exploitation took place in the Belgian colony of Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) where thousands of forced laborers died in the scramble to harvest wild rubber. Today, the governments of rainforest countries are now torn between the need to protect their endangered rainforests and the need for the money, roads and jobs that foreign logging companies bring in. Growing populations, swollen by war refugees, are razing rainforest to make way for farm land; poachers are picking off chimpanzees and gorillas to sell to the profitable bushmeat trade. Will the Congo Basin follow the fate of West Africa? Maybe not. In 1999, the six countries of the Congo Basin -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea -- pledged to harmonize forestry laws and form a joint watchdog system to track the effects of logging and poaching. One year later, they took the first step toward putting that pledge into action: the creation of the tri-national Sangha Park, a reserve that will cover more than one million hectares of rainforest in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lecture Notes

Author: PBS

West Africa before the Europeans

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Students will read a secondary text describing aspects of West African society, including descriptions of agriculture, industry, and political organization. They will then take notes in a graphic organizer provided. Finally, they will analyze the relationship between these three elements by crafting an essay.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: PBS

The Dogon and the Dama

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The Dama is the rite of passage for the men of the Dogon tribe. Conditions must be just right before a Dama can take place, and in the village of Tireli, in Mali, it is the responsibility of the oldest man in the village, the revered "Keeper of the Masks," to determine the timing of the Dama. In this video segment from the series Africa, young men in Tireli feel suspended between boyhood and manhood because there has not been a Dama in the village in 20 years. There is a conflict. A spirit told the village fortune teller that the next Dama would herald the village elder's death, and so the old man believes that if he organizes a Dama he will die.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Lesson Plan, Reading

Author: PBS

Animating Stories of Global Migration

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Who gets to tell the story of human migration around the globe? And what kind of story is it? The Story of Migration, an animated short illustrated by Karrie Fransman, dives into these questions by exploring the complicated connections between migration, development, and global inequalities. Produced by PositiveNegatives and MIDEQ (Migration for Development and Equality) Hub, the colorful animation draws on ethnographic and other evidence-based research from partners across 11 countries. It confronts common misconceptions about migration and centers the perspectives of those who live and work in the Global South who are often left out of popular media representations.

Material Type: Case Study, Diagram/Illustration

Author: Anthropology Magazine

Melvin Herbert Evans is the Virgin Islands' first elected Governor

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Melvin Herbert Evans is the Virgin Islands' first elected governor. Evans graduated from Howard University with a B.S. in 1940 and from the Howard College of Medicine with an M.D. four years later, following graduation from high school on St. Thomas. He then worked in a variety of medical and public health positions for the United States and the Virgin Islands.

Material Type: Lecture Notes, Student Guide

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown

Edward Wilmot Blyden Observance on August

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Edward Wilmot Blyden (3 August 1832 – 7 February 1912) was a Liberian educator, author, diplomat, and politician who worked mostly in Liberia. He also spent five years teaching in Sierra Leone, and his writings had an impact in both countries.Blyden was born on 3 August 1832 in St Thomas, Danish West Indies (now known as the United States Virgin Islands) to Free Black parents from the Igbo tribe of modern-day Nigeria.Blyden edited the Liberia Herald from 1855 to 1856 and penned the editorial "A Voice From Bleeding Africa."He also spent time in other British colonies in West Africa, most notably Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where he wrote for both colonies' early newspapers.Additionally, he worked as an editor at The Negro and The African World. He maintained contacts with the American Colonization Society and contributed articles to their journals, African Depository and Colonial Journal.Blyden served as Liberia's ambassador to the United Kingdom and France as a diplomat. Blyden was named Liberia's Secretary of State as a young man (1862–64). He then served as Minister of the Interior from 1880 until 1882. Blyden is often considered the "founder of Pan-Africanism" as a writer. His magnum opus, Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race (1887), argued that Islam was a more unifying and meaningful religion for Africans than Christianity.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Homework/Assignment, Reading

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown

Aesop and Ananse: Animal Fables and Trickster Tales

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In this unit, students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures. They will learn how both types of folktales employ various animals in different ways to portray human strengths and weaknesses and to pass down wisdom from one generation to the next. Use the following lessons to introduce students to world folklore and to explore how folktales convey the perspectives of different world cultures.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study

Author: Individual Authors

Significant Political and Legal Developments This Year for U.S. Territories

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Reexamination of the Insular Cases Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the first decade of the 20th century, the Insular Cases are a series of decisions that established the status of the residents of territories which had recently been acquired by the United States during and immediately after the Spanish-American War. These cases remain the basis for the relationship between the territories and the rest of the United States.1 Many attorneys in the territories say the Insular Cases are the reason they went to law school. However, the Insular Cases are much less well known outside of the territories and are not included in some law school curricula.

Material Type: Lecture Notes

Authors: Legislative Director, National Association Of Attorneys General, Root --ppa-color-scheme, Ryan Greenstein, Special Assistant To The Executive Director

CSPAN: U.S. Territorial Issues Feb 10, 1993

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Several professors, government officials and political party members spoke in a forum on political and social issues affecting U.S. territories, which focused mainly on the relationship between the U.S. federal government and the governments of the territories. Following the speakers' prepared remarks, the panelists responded to questions from members of the audience.

Material Type: Case Study, Lecture

Author: CSPAN

Unit Plan: Understanding Socio-political needs and changes in the U.S. Virgin Islands

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This 11-12th grade unit plan was designed for the 9th Annual Virgin Islands Literary Festival and Book Fair, April 2023.  English Teacher Regina Keels, a member of the festival committee, developed the unit, executed the lessons as indicated, and demonstrated the Socratic Seminar with colleague Cynthia Santos along with their students during the festival.  The unit can be be amended for other Virgin Islands political leaders and their speeches or for the speeches of political leaders globally.

Material Type: Teaching/Learning Strategy, Unit of Study

Author: Regina Keels

Virgin Islands Studies Collective - YouTube

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Dr. Hadiya Sewer joins the show to talk about her work with the VI Studies Collective and the St. John Heritage Collective. 1:58 Bajo el Sol Gallery Events 9:56 Theodora Moorehead 11:17 Recovery, changes, developments on St. John since “Irmaria” 16:50 The VI Studies Collective 24:24 Responses from VISCO workshops 30:39 Break 31:45 “Colonialism without Colonizers” speech and British Virgin Islands 40:06 Responses to new governor in US Virgin Islands, Albert Bryan, Jr. 44:09 U.S. Federal government shutdown and the National Park on St. John 47:21 2020 Census, citizenship question, VI delegate to Congress 49:26 Green New Deal and climate justice 57:09 Outro

Material Type: Lecture

Race in the Colonial Past and Present: Virtual Conversation with La Vaughn Belle and Jeanette Ehlers

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ASF presented a virtual conversation between artists Jeanette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle on “Race in the Colonial Past and Present,” moderated by Ursula Lindqvist, exploring the history of Denmark's colonial presence in the mid-17th century and how it has since affected representation. In 2018, Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle and Danish artist Jeannette Ehlers created the monumental public sculpture entitled I AM QUEEN MARY, the first collaborative sculpture to memorialize Denmark’s colonial impact in the Caribbean and those who fought against it. In this program, listen to the two artists discuss colonialism and how commemorative representations can impact the public discourse surrounding Danish colonial history. What do these representations mean for people of African descent living in the Nordic Countries? What do they mean to the Virgin Islands? And how can they intervene in the historic, current and future relationship between Denmark and the Virgin Islands?

Material Type: Lecture

Author: Scandinavia House

Rewriting History | Jeannette Ehlers

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Jeannette Ehlers is a Danish-Trinidadian multi disciplinary visual artist who aims to disrupt the dominating narratives and replace them with ones that acknowledge the aspects of history that have thus far been ignored. Ehlers engages themes of visibility, identity, and collective memory, such as her work I am Queen Mary, which represents one of four queens who led the 1878 labor revolt in Saint Croix, a former Danish colony. Presenting her works at the sixth MAD Symposium, Ehlers discusses how it is possible to reframe history so that it is inclusive to all and provides examples how to do so through her works. Ehlers engages us, urging us to see how art, and other mediums like food, can provoke, lead and guide, people to better self-understanding. Michael Miller is the co-founder of the London and New York Meditation Center. Miller regularly teaches all across the globe, introducing the ancient technique of Vedic Meditation in a way that is accessible and relevant to people living in today's world. Interweaving practical techniques with vocal advice, Miller compels us to see how meditation can make us more available, responsive, and active in our lives. By tuning in to, and ridding ourselves of stress we can create better kitchen environments, he argues. About MAD: MAD is a non-profit transforming our food system by giving chefs and restaurateurs the skills, community, time, and space to create real and sustainable change in their restaurants, their communities, and across the world.

Material Type: Lecture, Primary Source

Author: MAD

Exploring Caribbean Influence in Hip-Hop Music

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1. To introduce students to the Caribbean influence in hip-hop music, focusing on the pioneering group Salt-N-Pepa and the contemporary success of R. City.2. To explore how artists from the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean have contributed to the popularity and expansion of hip-hop music.3. To encourage students to appreciate and celebrate their cultural heritage while embracing diverse narratives in the world of music.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown

The Fireburn of 1878

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These lesson plans delve deep into the pivotal event of the 1878 Fireburn, a significant labor uprising in the Virgin Islands. Rooted in the struggles for human rights, freedom from serfdom variants, and improved labor conditions, the Fireburn stands as a testament to the resilience and courage of estate laborers like Mary Thomas, Axeline Salomon, Mathilde McBean, and Susanna Abramson. Through a series of interactive activities, multimedia resources, and critical discussions, students will journey through the socio-political landscape of the former Danish West Indies, understanding the factors leading up to the uprising and its profound aftermath. The module aims to not only educate but also instill a sense of pride and recognition of the sacrifices made by those who stood up against oppression, shaping the fabric of our heritage and the equity we cherish today in the Virgin Islands of the United States. 

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lecture Notes, Lesson, Primary Source

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown

David Hamilton Jackson and All Ahwe Student Project

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"David Hamilton Jackson and All Ahwe: Creative Expression for Cultivating Awareness and Social Change" is a project intended to stimulate our students' exploration of the dynamic relationship between art and community activism utilizing the tools of rights, respect, and responsibility. Through this initiative, students will have the opportunity to craft artistic pieces that capture the essence of David Hamilton Jackson's contributions to labor rights, press freedom, and civil liberties in the Virgin Islands of the United States. These creative works may manifest in various forms, including visual art, written compositions, music, and STEAM projects. 

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan, Syllabus

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown

Lesson Plan: "Emancipatory Footsteps: Exploring and Envisioning the Virgin Islands"

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The lesson plan "Exploring Emancipation: A Digital Walking Tour of Frederiksted" offers a unique and engaging educational experience that delves into the historical significance of Frederiksted, a place where the 1848 emancipation of all enslaved individuals in the then Danish West Indies was achieved through the resolute efforts of the enslaved themselves. Collaboratively developed by the Crucian Nature and Tourism Organization and the Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education, this lesson plan aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of Frederiksted as an emancipatory stronghold, with a focus on the layered post-1848 emancipation evolution. The lesson is thoughtfully designed to align with the 175th commemoration of the 1848 Emancipation Act, and it fosters peer-to-peer learning while incorporating integrated activities centered around locally significant themes.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Lecture, Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: Stephanie Chalana Brown