Virgin Islands History and Cultural Resources

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education facilitates the transmission of clear and concise knowledge of the history and culture of the Virgin Islands to the diverse students and adults of the Territory’s schools and neighborhoods, regardless of ethnicity. Enculturation and acculturation lead to greater respect for the Virgin Islands' way of life, by advancing the culture to achieve a more heterogeneous society.

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175TH Emancipation Celebration Subcommittee Issues Call for Content for Scholarly/Creative Publication

May 4, 2023, 1:41 p.m.

175TH Emancipation Celebration Subcommittee Issues Call for Content for Scholarly/Creative Publication

Call For 150-Word Abstracts By Friday, May 12, 2023

Contact: Myron D. Jackson

The 175th Emancipation Commitee’s Subcommittee on Research and Data Collecton today issued a call for content for a Scholarly/Creative publicaton on Virgin Islands Emancipation themes which will be published as a Special Edition of the The Caribbean Writer, a publication of the University of the Virgin Islands, this fall. The Caribbean Writer is the longest running scholarly press in the Caribbean and is an internationally refereed journal with a focus on works created by Caribbean people. “We are pleased and energized by this collaboration with The Caribbean Writer which is an internationally recognized publicaton of merit,” said Myron Jackson, Chair of the 175th Emancipaton Subcommitee on Research and Data Collecton. “This publication will extend the impact and importance of the work of the 175th Emancipation Committee beyond this year of celebration,” said Carol Burke, Chair of the 175th Emancipation Committee.

Jackson invited scholars and creatives on Virgin Islands culture and history, at-home and abroad to share their work under the overall theme of U.S. Virgin Islands Emancipation 175: The Ongoing Narratve of Freedom. “We invite them to submit scholarly papers, humanities essays, short stories, poetry, photography and printable artwork under one of the following identified subthemes:

  • Historical Perspectives in Context: Local, Regional, Global Perspectives Before, During or After Enslavement
  • Freedom and Social Change: Leadership: Men/Women; Access to Property: Rights and Ownership; Testimonials: Embracing Freedom on That Day – July 3 – July 5
  • Cultural Identity: Community and Spirituality
  • Facing the Past, Embracing the Future: Healing Generational Wounds; Migraton and Immigration; Politics and Progress; An Unfinished Project

Jackson said that scholars and creatives should first submit a 150-word typed-double-spaced abstract to by Friday, May 12, 2023 which describes their work and identfies its content category, identfied sub-theme, topic, proposed title, scope, and importance to the overall theme of Emancipation 175: The Ongoing Narrative of Freedom. The abstracts will be reviewed and then selected scholars and creatives will be invited to submit their full work for publication. Authors and artists will be notified about their selecton by Thursday, June 1, 2023. Full submissions must adhere to the standards described below.

Descripton of Types of Content

Scholarly Papers – A research topic in the humanities topic (language, history, religion/spirituality, philosophy, art/music) – where the writer/researcher makes logical arguments based on evidence from texts and research and is required to support their presentation with facts from reputable sources. Includes Introduction/Thesis, Supporting Points and Reasons, Counter Points and Refutation, Conclusion. Paper should be reflective of one of the identified themes. (14 – 28 pages typed double spaced – 3,500 – 7000 words).

Humanities Essays – A short paper on a humanities topic (language, history, religion/spirituality, philosophy, art/music) on a very specific topic where the writer is making logical arguments based on evidence. Provides a thesis, an analysis based on evidence from texts, with an introduction that points the reader in the direction of the argument. The body is composed of a series of close, interpretive readings of passages from humanities-based texts that support the thesis. The conclusion is a thoughtful reflection/analysis on what was presented in the thesis. Essay should be reflective of one of the identified themes – (6 pages double spaced – up to 1500 words).

Short Stories – Fictonal accounts utilizing a humanities-based topic (language, history, religion/spirituality, philosophy, art/music) with the five elements of a story (character, setting, conflict, plot and theme) – that reflect one of the identified themes – up to 14 pages double spaced (3,500 words)

Short Poetry – Lyrical or rhythmical presentation of topic utilizing (language, history, religion/spirituality, philosophy, art/music) to reflect feelings, thoughts, emotions, observations that reflect one of the identified themes – (up to two pages)

Original Photography/Artwork – Visual print representation of topic regarding (language, history, religion/spirituality, philosophy, art/music) that reflect one of the identified themes. – (up to 2 pages).

“We hope that our scholars and artists will take advantage of this opportunity to explore these themes and topics and broaden and deepen the emancipation narrative of the Virgin Islands, which is ongoing and continues to inform our development as a people,” Jackson concluded.


May 4, 2023, 1:38 p.m.






Eligibility: Open to all artists post-high school, with special consideration to artists that have roots or connections to the US Virgin Islands, and Caribbean. Collaborative submissions involving more than one artist are permitted.

Guidelines: Work must relate to the topic and address histories of freedom and resistance in the Virgin Islands. Artists of all disciplines may submit a work, a small body of work (3 total), or a project (such as an installation or performance proposal) in any media, including but not limited to:

  • Digital photography, printed or projected
  • Short Video works, animation (including music videos and short films)
  • Sound pieces or live musical performances
  • 2-D drawing/painting, mixed media, or collage
  • Sculpture, installation, or artistic intervention
  • Performance, movement-based, or experimental theater ○ We will also accept written works (poetry/essays), and archival projects

Submit the Following in a Single Document in PDF Format – 4 Page Maximum, 10 MB

  • Artist Resume / CV – 2 Page Maximum
  • Artist Bio – 150-300 Words Maximum
  • Artist Statement – 250-500 words max
  • Project Statement – 250-500 words max
    • Please describe how this work responds to the theme.
  • Slide List – Include:
    • Submission Number
    • Artwork Title, Year
    • Medium
    • Dimensions / Duration – For Large Audio or Video Files, You May Include a Direct Link for Online Streaming with Timestamps for Viewing Up to 00:05:00 Minutes Maximum for All Time-Based Submissions Total.
  • Work description- installation requirements, equipment and technical specifications, support needs, and reasonable shipping costs (if relevant).

Name the PDF as such: Jane Doe_Clear de Road Application

Submit up to 3 Work Samples – 5 MB Maximum Per File

  • Images: 300DPI JPG, PNG, or TIFF Format. No Links to Online Images Will Be Accepted.
  • Audio: MP3, WAV Format – 00:05:00 Minutes Maximum for All Time-Based Submissions Total. Alternatively, You Can Include a Link to Your Audio Online in the Slide List.
  • Video: MP4, MOV Format – 00:05:00 Minutes Maximum for All Time-Based Submissions Total. Alternatively, You Can Include a Link to Your Video Online in the Slide List.
  • Name Each File as Follows: Submission Number, Artist Name, Title, Year, Medium, Dimensions, and Format Extension. Example: 01_Jane Doe_Heaven on Earth_2023_Sound_00:05:00 Minutes.MP3

Submission: Please email your completed application with required materials to: and place “Emancipation 175th Exhibition Submission” in the subject header. Large files should be sent via a file transfer system (such as Dropbox or Wetransfer), using the same email address for notification purposes.

Deadline for submissions: Monday, May 15, 2023, by Midnight AST email:

Jury Process: Selections from the submissions received will be made by the Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums territorial chief curator and DLAM director, in conjunction with the 175th Emancipation Commemoration evaluation team, consisting of Myron Jackson, Frandelle Gerard, Monique Clendenin, Khnuma Simmonds, and Akeem Macintosh. The jury consists of arts and culture experts, some of whom are trained artists from various disciplines spanning from visual arts, music, and dance/movement. The following selection criteria will be used:

  • Aesthetic and technical quality
  • Strong ideas and criticality related to themes
  • Innovation and creativity both visually and conceptually
  • Feasibility
  • Use of historical research and source materials

The jury reserves the right not to accept or exhibit submissions or incomplete applications.

Artist Notifications: Up to fifteen artists/collaborations will be selected. Artists will be notified whether their entry has been accepted by Monday, May 22, 2023.

Artwork Delivery Deadline: Monday, June 19, 2023, 4 pm local time. Installation pieces are to be installed by the artists or their appointed representatives on a timeline to be communicated to them.

Delivery Address: Fort Frederik is located at 198 Strand Street, Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI 00840

Notice of Documentation: Both video and photo documentation will be provided, as well as an illustrated exhibition catalog published that documents the exhibit with each artist’s work and the curatorial narrative among other selected texts. Media Release Forms with written consent are required for documenting the show for development, marketing and communications, and archival purposes.

Exhibition Install and Deinstall Requirements: All accepted works will be displayed with the curatorial text as part of the catalog as well as on the Emancipation website, with the artist’s name, bio, email, website, and a full description of their work.

Artists are responsible for organizing the production, delivery, shipping, and handling of the accepted submissions. Artists are also responsible for the collection of their entries at the end of the exhibition unless otherwise arranged. If and when possible, under some rare circumstances, equipment can be provided. Artists may opt to provide their own equipment if no other options are available. Please note that technical feasibility is part of the selection criteria, including equipment availability.
Artists are required to dismantle (where relevant) and collect their artworks and any equipment they own within two weeks after the closure of the exhibition, or by Saturday, October 21, 2023, 4 pm at the latest. The Fort Frederik Museum will not be responsible for any work or equipment left after that date.

Queries: For any queries about this project, including the availability of equipment, please email: and place “Emancipation 175th” in the subject header, or call the Fort Frederik at 1 (340) 722-2021 ext. 8222 to the attention of the DPNR’s Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums Territorial Chief Curator Monica Marin.

The curator proposes some of the following questions and themes that can possibly be explored among others:

  • How did the 1733 uprising on St. John, in which enslaved Africans held the island for over six months influenced future revolutions in the Caribbean? What are the reverberations of 1848’s Emancipation? What are the long-lasting legacies of these events in shaping the spirit of resistance in Virgin Islanders, particularly in cultivating both self-determination and Black Consciousness?
  • What would self-determination and liberation look like had Virgin Islanders been granted independence upon emancipation? How would life be different in the Virgin Islands if we were free from imperialism and present-day US colonial rule?
  • What are the myths vs facts surrounding the personhood of some of VI’s freedom fighters such as Buddhoe, Queen Mary and the other Firebun Queens, Queen Coziah, and the many others left out of the story? How have VI Folk songs such as Carisos memorialized these heroes but also mythologized them? How has new research unveiled more humanistic accounts that move beyond the symbolic one-dimensional interpretations?
  • Who are some of the lesser-known heroes and events in the history of resistance in the VI that have been left out of the story?
  • How have archival criminal records been used to track down these histories of freedom? What are some of the untold histories of freedom such as Virgin Islanders purchasing their freedom by using their artistic skills and craftsmanship?
  • How have Sunday Market Square and other examples of emancipatory efforts served as a space of resistance and cultural survival?
  • How does the ongoing struggle for civil rights in the USVI manifest today? What is our new colonialism?
  • How has the state apparatus utilized visual culture as a weapon for authority to control and subjugate throughout history? Specifically, how has power been manipulated through classification, separation, and aestheticization techniques? For example, plantation slavery’s racial hierarchies, the mapping of the islands by way of estate divisions, the segregation of people based on race and class in neighborhoods like “Free Gut” to even West End VS East End, to the discriminatory bias of the colonial archives, and the erection of statues of various colonial rulers. How have Virgin Islanders pushed back against these attempts?
  • How has the struggle for Black liberation been silenced by Denmark and the US? How have Black voices and Black activism been censored by the media from David Hamilton Jackson’s organizing up until more recent times?
  • How have oral histories, folk traditions, and storytelling served as a space of resistance to the oppressive conditions of slavery and colonialism? How do they serve as a source of cultural retention, invention, and knowledge to this day?
  • Who are some of the Virgin Islanders who have played monumental roles in improving workers’ rights and human rights in the region and that have inspired Trans-Atlantic Black Liberation worldwide?

2023 Virgin Islands History Month door/corridor challenge

March 6, 2023, 7:38 a.m.

Teacher Door Competition

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education within the Department of Education of the Virgin Islands is placing a significant amount of emphasis on the topics surrounding emancipation and post-emancipation in celebration of March being designated as Virgin Islands History Month through the use of the theme "Emancipation Now, Understanding History, Living the Legacy, and Creating a Just Future for All Ah We."

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the Emancipation Revolt in the Virgin Islands in 1848. Part of this year's VI History events are conversations about our legacy after emancipation. 

Submission of photographs by educators depicting their Class door or corridor decorated with artwork related to emancipation themes is strongly encouraged. All submissions will be made public on the Facebook page of the VI Department of Education. Residents are asked to vote for candidates based on the following criteria: creative use of materials, a direct correlation to VI liberation themes, organization, and content.

The top three entries from each district will win a Viya MIFI and one year of service if they receive the most votes.

Submit up until March 24, 2023 of the Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education



Black History Month: A graphic history of Ambassador Terence Todman’s rise through the diplomatic ranks.

Feb. 15, 2023, 9 a.m.



The Black Ambassador Who Took His Fight for Equality Straight to the State Department

A graphic history of Ambassador Terence Todman’s rise through the diplomatic rank

Text by Chuck Brown and Illustration by Takeia Marie

View the Comic book series below:

About Terence Todmann

Ambassador Terrence Todmann

Terence A. Todman, Jr. is a retired attorney. Over his career, he has been associated with a number of organizations, including, the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (Paul Weiss), The Chase Manhattan Corporation (Chase), and, for a brief period, The Office of the Legal Advisor in the U. S. Department of State. His professional life includes serving as Managing Principal of a consulting firm on sustainable economic development, the Executive Director, North America, of a Kids’ Environmental Education Project for International Art and Technology Cooperation Organization (ArTech), and a founding partner and President of Strategic Wealthcare Partners. Terence A. Todman, Jr. joined Chase as a Senior Associate Counsel, became the General Counsel for the Chase Manhattan Private Bank, and then, the Managing Director and executive responsible for Chase’s Global Trust and Fiduciary business. While with Chase, he founded and served as the Managing Editor of The Chase Journal, a quarterly publication on U.S, international and cross-border wealth management and wealth transfer issues and was a member of a number of affiliated Boards and Committees. Terence A. Todman, Jr. began his professional legal career with Paul Weiss, as an associate specializing in corporate and international law. He received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from Brown University. Terence A. Todman, Jr. has served on a number of Boards, including, The Black Filmmaker Foundation, Covenant House, The International Trust Company Association, The Benjamin M. Cardozo School of Law, The Jazz and Contemporary Music Program of New School University and the Columbia University School of Dentistry. Terence A. Todman, Jr. was admitted to the bar in New York.

Source: Bureau of Global Public Affairs 

The U.S. Department of State Address

On May 5 2022, I had the honor of representing the U.S. Department of State at a ceremony naming the airport road in St. Thomas after Ambassador Terence A. Todman, a six-time Ambassador who held the second highest number of ambassadorial appointments in our nation’s history. He reached the highest heights of diplomatic excellence despite Jim Crow and segregation. Over six decades ago, Ambassador Todman traveled from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico for University. He eventually embarked on a career in public service, first as a military officer in Japan during WWII, and later to Washington where he began his journey in diplomacy.

Maryum Saifee, Senior Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, delivers remarks at the airport road naming ceremony in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on May 5, 2022. [Photo still from Governor’s Office of the Virgin Islands video recording]
Maryum Saifee, Senior Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, delivers remarks at the airport road naming ceremony in St Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on May 5, 2022. [Photo still from Governor’s Office of the Virgin Islands video recording]

In 1957, when Ambassador Todman arrived at the Foreign Service Institute, he discovered as a Black officer, he couldn’t eat with his colleagues due to segregation laws in Virginia. Rather than stay silent, he spoke up. His principled dissent led to the eventual integration of the Department’s dining facilities. According to his son, Terence Todman, Jr., who spoke on a panel my office recently organized, his father intuitively knew that a more equitable State Department was necessary, not only because it was the morally right thing to do, but because the diversity of thought he – and others who didn’t fit the State Department mold –  brought to the table would ultimately make our foreign policy more effective.

Black History Month 2023: Contributions of Virgin Islanders to the Black American Experience

Feb. 15, 2023, 7:31 a.m.

Black History 2023   

A) Dr. Charles W. Turnbull - When Charles Turnbull was elected Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, he became the territory's sixth governor. St. Thomas is the proud birthplace of our esteemed governor Turnbull. The Virgin Islands, as one of the United States' newest spaces in modern history, Turnbull understood the significance of recording the territory's experience with the 246-year history of the United States. Governor Turnbull attended public schools in the Virgin Islands, where Harlem Renaissance author and educator, Jose Antonio Jarvis, mentored him. Turnbull taught at and eventually became the principal of Charlotte Amalie High School after graduating from Hampton University; he was promoted to Assistant Commissioner of the Virgin Islands education system in 1967. Turnbull was an elected delegate to all five constitutional conventions, where he fought for more freedoms for the Virgin Islands and staunchly defended the islands' unique culture and history. Turnbull published a book about the controversial Virgin Islander Casper Holstein titled, Unusual Humanitarian, as part of his effort to record the untold experiences of black and brown people living in erased U.S. areas. A Harlem Renaissance figure, Holstein frequently donated to the Virgin Islands using questionable means. Nonetheless, Turnbull published his research through his perspective into the Harlem Renaissance icon's whole persona, enhancing our understanding of the black American experience as a Virgin Islander. To strengthen the study of the Virgin Islands' history and culture and include it in the school system, Turnbull established the Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education during his tenure as Commissioner of Education in the Virgin Islands from 1979 to 1987. In 1998, Turnbull won the election as Governor of the Virgin Islands, a position he held until 2007. A cultural advocate and scholar, he has advanced discussions on the evolving identity of the Virgin Islands as part of the Black American experience. Turnbull passed away on July 2, 2022.


B) Frank Crosswaith - Nonstop migration to the Continental United States began in the middle of the nineteenth century, with many residents of the Virgin Islands settling in New York. This massive migration had multiple causes. There was a significant emigration of Danish West Indians to the United States for better education and employment before 1917. Such migration was later doubled by the United States 1917 annexation of the territory. The Virgin Islands Protective League and the Virgin Islands Congressional Council helped bring together Virgin Islanders in New York to rally in support of one another and charities to the territory. For the northern Black American labor movement, Frank Crosswaith, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the Negro Labor Committee, was a pioneer. He was a longtime socialist politician, activist, and trade union organizer in New York City who founded and chaired the Negro Labor Committee, established on July 20, 1935 by the Negro Labor Conference. Crosswaith maintained a long association with union head A. Philip Randolph, serving with him as officers of the Negro Labor Committee in the 1930s and 1940s.In the early 1930s, Crosswaith worked as an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which became one of the major supporters of the Negro Labor Committee. 


C) Olasee Davis - Professor Olasee Davis was born on the island of St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands of the United States, but resides on the island of St. Croix, where he currently resides and maintains his academic and professional life. It was in 1998 that he helped start the St. Croix Hiking Association. Since then, his name has become synonymous with environmental activism and cultural and natural history on the island. At the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands, he works as an assistant professor and extension specialist. Professor Davis leads numerous groups of students, teachers, preservationists, and others on hikes into sacred grounds, where he relates the history of lands past. Professor Davis has recently used his advocacy to draw attention to the national level on the environmental tragedy of the loss of The Krause Lagoon, the largest wetland in the Virgin Islands, to industrial development and to advocate for greater transparency of industrial companies' responsibilities to the health of the residents, especially as national conversations of environmental degradation of black and brown communities are taken place. This is a complex discussion as much of the Virgin Islands economy, especially St. Croix, has long thought to hang on our refinery. In the Washington Post, a widely regarded national newspaper, Davis was featured in the article "The island where it rained oil." Davis boldly stated, "When it comes to the refinery, the refinery always gets its way." This is on the heels of the release of oil and water vapor into St. Croix neighborhoods, especially Clifton Hill and the south shore residents' water supplies and roofing spouts, as Davis proclaimed to the vast population on the continental U.S. The incident ultimately caused the Biden administration, local government, and environmental organizations to decide to shutter the refinery. Many national dialogues and studies have relied on Professor Davis' extensive writings on preserving black historical spaces and ecological degradation in black and brown communities.


D) Dr. Carlyle Corbin is an international advisor on governance. Corbin has served as the former Minister of State for External Affairs of the Virgin Islands of the United States Government, as well as a member of its former Political Status Commission and Advisor to its Fifth Constitutional Convention. in his career, Dr. Corbin has served as an international advisor, to the Premier of Bermuda, the Prime Minister of Curacao and the President of French Polynesia. Dr. Corbin has lectured extensively on governance and political development at Bermuda College, the University of the South Pacific, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Puerto Rico, and the University of the West Indies. He is the author of two United Nations studies on the participation of non-independent countries in the United Nations system and numerous scholarly articles. Dr. Corbin analyzes the dehumanizing laws dictated to Pacific Islanders, Caribbean island nations, and especially the Virgin Islands of the United States through unified systems and ideologies. He has advocated on American television programming about inequitable citizenships and unfavorable laws imposed on the territory. He has been part of the faces on the United Nations floor engaging in politics of black and brown people to both U.S. leaders and International delegates.


E) Dr. Gloria Ida Joseph was a Virgin Islands academic that rallied Black studies and engaged in black, queer, and feminist activism for over 60 years. Ms. Joseph moved to New York as a child with her parents. According to sources. She was the great-niece of Virgin Islands-born and New York-based philanthropist and activist Casper Holstein. Dr. Joseph and her acclaimed life partner Audre Lorde lived on St. Croix for many years and even experienced hurricane Hugo, bringing about the award-winning publication, Hell Under God's Orders: Hurricane Hugo in St. Croix – Disaster and Survival. Joseph and Lorde were founding members of the Women Coalition of St. Croix and the Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa. Dr. Joseph's work includes the novel On Time and in Step: Reunion on the Glory Road and the bio anthology of Lorde, The Wind Is SpiritThe Life, Love, and Legacy of Audre Lorde. Joseph has co-authored "Common Differences: Conflicts in Black and White Feminist Perspectives" and many academic papers. 


F) Tim Duncan - Born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands of the United States, Tim Duncan played 19 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and led the San Antonio Spurs to five championship season games. He was selected to play in 15 All-Star games. He won the Rookie of the Year award, two MVP awards, three Finals MVP awards, and five NBA championships. Duncan desired to become a professional swimmer like his Olympic-participating sister. However, Hurricane Hugo devastated the island's Olympic-sized swimming pool, and shortly after that, Duncan began playing basketball, although he was not at the time popular. As a senior at St. Dunstan's Episcopal High School on St. Croix, he averaged 25 points per game after overcoming his awkwardness. His performance garnered the interest of numerous universities. Wake Forest University basketball coach Dave Odom became particularly interested in Duncan's talent. Duncan attended Wake Forest University based on his academic merit and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020. Duncan was voted Rookie of the Year in 1998. In 2004, Duncan attained his lifelong ambition of appearing in the Olympics, assisting the U.S. men's basketball team to a bronze medal at the Athens Games. He ranks among the top 15 NBA players in career points at his retirement. He rejoined the Spurs for the 2019–20 NBA season as an assistant coach. 2020 saw Duncan's induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Duncan is also the youngest player on the Association for Professional Basketball Research's list of the "100 Greatest Professional Basketball Players of the 20th Century."


G) Elizabeth Anna Hendrickson - A forerunner in African-American politics during the Harlem Renaissance, Elizabeth Anna Hendrickson was once known as the First Lady of the Virgin Islands. She was also a leader in the League of American West Indian Ladies Aid Society and advocated for the Harlem tenants. She was a well-known street corner speaker and was involved in the struggles of the Harlem Tenants League in the 1920s. Harlem was a black metropolis, and West Indians were part of a larger, more Pan-African demographic group. Of the Caribbean immigrants, Virgin Islanders knew more about the U.S. and its discrimination against blacks due to the colonization of the Danish Islands in 1917. With Ashley L. Totten, she formed the Virgin Islands Protective Association, which aimed at addressing the mistreatment of those in their homeland.

St. Croix Hiking Association Heritage Hikes - February - April

Feb. 3, 2023, 7:43 a.m.

The purpose of the St. Croix Hiking organization is to educate residents of and help preserve the cultural, natural, and environmental history and geography of the Virgin Islands and other locations, including the importance of natural resources to the heath and well-being of our community.


STX hiking

Saturday 11 – Ha’penny - road to the beach, shoreline hike - morning – Steve Cohen

Sunday 12 - Southgate Nature Preserve - afternoon – Olasee Davis

Saturday 8 - Frederiksted Fish Market to Ham's Bay/Mt Washington – Cathy Prince
Sunday 23 - Hermitage – McLean Augustus



Catherine Prince: 340-772-2073   (please leave a message)
Sonia Maynard-John: 340-514-9745


Black History Month- National Gallery of Art: Harlem Renaissance: Respond and Relate | Activity

Jan. 31, 2023, 9:52 a.m.

Harlem Renaissance

James Van Der Zee, Garveyite Family, Harlem, 1924, printed 1974

James Van Der Zee, Garveyite Family, Harlem, 1924, printed 1974, gelatin silver print, Corcoran Collection (Gift of Eric R. Fox), 2015.19.4388

How do visual artists of the Harlem Renaissance explore black identity and political empowerment?

How does the visual art of the Harlem Renaissance relate to current-day events and issues?

How do migration and displacement influence cultural production?

Additional Resources

Africana Age: African and African Diasporan Transformations in the 20th Century, Maps, New York Public Library

Africana Age: African and African Diasporan Transformations in the 20th Century, The New Negro Renaissance, New York Public Library

Harlem Renaissance: A Resource Guide, Library of Congress

The Harlem Renaissance, Online Educational Resources, Humanities Texas

Jim Crow Laws, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historical Park, National Park Service

Musée du quai Branly—Jacques Chirac, offering a brief history of its ethnographic/colonial collections

National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African Art

One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, Museum of Modern Art

On ‘The Creation’ and God’s Trombones,” Modern American Poetry

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library

National Gallery of Art: Teaching the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Its Legacies - Exploring (Continental US) Emancipation

Jan. 31, 2023, 9:33 a.m.

A.A. Lamb, Emancipation Proclamation, 1864 or after, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1955.11.10

A.A. Lamb, Emancipation Proclamation, 1864 or after, oil on canvas, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1955.11.10

Observation and Discussion

  1. Why might this painting be titled Emancipation Proclamation? Divide students into groups and ask each group to identify at least three details in the painting that speak to the idea of emancipation. One strategy to support their observation would be to imagine thirds or quadrants for the painting and look at each section for details. As a class, discuss which details each group identified and how those details support the idea of emancipation.
  2. How do you imagine different groups might have reacted to this painting in 1864? Assign students a perspective to consider: newly freed individuals, Union supporters, Confederacy supporters, and immigrants to America. Compare each group’s perspective and discuss the differences.
  3. Based on the details observed in the painting, who do you imagine Lamb’s intended audience was? Encourage students to refer to the earlier class discussion of details for evidence to support their claims.


Direct students to explore BlackPast, a resource from Humanities Washington, and search for primary sources relating to the Reconstruction era in the period following the completion of this painting (after 1864). 

Possible sources to explore:
• 1866 Mississippi Black Codes
• 1866 Texas Black Codes
• 1867 Reconstruction Acts
• 1867 Thaddeus Stevens’s speech on Reconstruction bill

Ask students to write an essay considering how the realities of life for newly freed Black communities in the United States unfolded in the late 19th century. Based on their selected primary source(s), how did life compare to the vision presented in Lamb’s painting? What factors (age, geography, education, etc.) might have influenced a formerly enslaved person’s ability to live in freedom?

As an extension to this exercise, ask students to write on what inequities they observe in their own communities today and how long these issues have persisted.


  • Have students compare Lamb’s painting with John Gast’s 1872 American Progress, an iconic image illustrating a perspective on westward expansion. What similarities and differences can you observe in these two works of art, and what message does each communicate to the viewer?
  • The US Capitol building continues to serve as a site for various groups to gather in support of a cause. What events of the 21st century have prompted groups to gather in Washington, DC, in support of their beliefs? What cause or position was each group aiming to spotlight and advance through their gatherings?


National Archives: Emancipation Proclamation text
EdSitement: Frederick Douglass’s “What, To the Slave, Is the Fourth of July” speech
University of Massachusetts, Amherst: W. E. B. DuBois Papers

Through the African American Lens: Afrofuturism: The Origin Story – A Smithsonian Channel Documentary - Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Jan. 31, 2023, 9:06 a.m.

afro futurism

  • Wednesday, February 8, 2023
  • 7:00pm - 9:00pm

In support of NMAAHC’s newest exhibition, Afrofuturism - A History of Black Futures, the public programs department will present the Afrofuturism: The Origin Story documentary produced by the Smithsonian Channel. Ytasha Womack, author, filmmaker, dancer, independent scholar and Alexis Aggrey, director, Afrofuturism: The Origin Story (2022,) are joining Kevin Strait, NMAAHC curator of Afro-Futurism: A History of Black Futures for a post-screening discussion that the NMAAHC Curator of Music and the Performing Arts will moderate.

View Livestream

NMAAHC Kids Learning Together: Celebrating Encanto’s Antonio!

Jan. 31, 2023, 8:57 a.m.

National Museum of African American History & Culture - Early Childhood Education


February 4, 2023 11:00 AM

This Black History Month, NMAAHC Kids is celebrating Black children’s movie and TV characters! Join us for a virtual program inspired by Encanto’s Antonio and meet a Black veterinarian. Veterinarian Dr. Lauren Davidson will teach children about animal behavior and care and answer questions live! Then, create art inspired by Antonio’s colorful toucan friend, Pico.

More information: All NMAAHC Kids Black History Month programs are held via Zoom webinar and led by museum educators. This program is not associated with Walt Disney Pictures or Walt Disney Animation Studios. Registered participants will receive Zoom information and a list of supplies, and recommended resources on the Monday before the program. 

Join via the livestream on the NMAAHC UStream page. No registration required. Find out what supplies you’ll need here

Black History Month: Historically Speaking: Comrade Sisters: The Women of the Black Panther Party - Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Jan. 31, 2023, 8:44 a.m.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Black History Month Programming

Historically Speaking: Comrade Sisters: The Women of the Black Panther Party

  • Tuesday, January 31, 2023
  • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Renowned photographer Steven Shames offers a presentation of rarely scene images featured in Comrade Sisters: The Women of the Black Panther Party. Co-authored with former party leader, Ericka Huggins, the book chronicles the history of women and their importance within this critical grassroots movement. Shames’ presentation will be followed by a conversation moderated by NMAAHC curator of women’s history Angela Tate with Huggins and Hazel Mack, Cheryl Dawson, and Lynn French as they explore how Comrade Sisters rewrites the record of the women who, as teachers, students, writers, musicians, medics, mothers, daughters, aunties, worshipers, factory laborers, grew the movement by taking the well-being of the community into their own hands. Copies of the book will be for sale and signing courtesy of Smithsonian Books.   

Watch Streaming Live Program

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK​​​​​​​ - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Seminar in Race, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice

Jan. 31, 2023, 8:23 a.m.

Seminar in Race, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice (GR9810)

Climate change, racial injustice, and inequities are deeply intertwined. Colonialism, slavery, and the genocide of indigenous peoples are directly linked to natural resource exploitation, environmental degradation, and global warming. Our seminar focuses on placing race, gender, and class at the center of discussions of the environment, climate, and equity. Our goal is to create an academic space that enables collaborative dialogue, action, and insight for systemic change toward racial equity and understanding within a climate and environment context. 

The seminar is from 11:40 am-12:55 pm unless otherwise indicated. 

The seminar is open to the Columbia community. Please RSVP for each individual session.

January 31 Hadiya Sewer, African Philosopher, and US Virgin Islands Native @

February 2 Paul Paz y Miño, Associate Director, Amazon Watch RSVP Here

February 9 Andriannah Mbandi, Research Fellow in Air Quality and Transportation, SEIRSVP Here

February 16 Raya Salter Esq., Member NY State Climate Action Council and Policy Organizer, NY Renews CoalitionRSVP Here

February 23 Hadeel Khalil Assali, PhD candidate in Anthropology, Columbia University   

March 9 @ 7:30 pm Nity Jayaraman, Journalist & Activist. Part of an anti-corporate collective called Vettiver Koottamaippu (Collective)RSVP Here 

March 16  Annel Hernandez, Associate Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA)RSVP Here

March 23 Jackie Qataliña Schaeffer, Senior Project Manager, Alaska Native Tribal ConsortiumRSVP Here

March 30 Miranda Massie, Director, The Climate Museum Dr. Dilshanie Perera, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Climate and Inequality, The Climate MuseumRSVP Here

April 6  Dr. Robert Fullilove, Professor and Dean of Community and Minority Affairs, Columbia UniversityRSVP Here

April 13 Alvaro S. Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director, Greenlining InstituteRSVP Here

Black in Marine Science (BIMS) and The Nature Conservancy SCUBA course in St. Croix

Jan. 31, 2023, 7:22 a.m.


Black in Marine Science (BIMS) and The Nature Conservancy SCUBA course in St. Croix

Have you ever wanted to learn how to SCUBA Dive? The BIMS SCUBA Program is meant to introduce students and professionals from traditionally excluded backgrounds to experiences that will allow you to successfully be awarded competitive internships and scholarships in the future. Note: You must be 18 or older to participate.
Click the link below to apply to the SCUBA course in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, from May 21-27, 2023.

Register below

More about BMIS

Black in Marine Science (BIMS) is an organization aimed at celebrating Black marine scientists, spreading environmental awareness, and inspiring the next generation of scientific thought leaders.

Topics include:

  • What is Marine Science?
  • The Water Cycle
  • Marine Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Coral Reef Bleaching
  • Plastic Pollution
  • Fisheries
  • and more!,generation%20of%20scientific%20thought%20leaders.



The Spark Flies for More than a Century

Dec. 21, 2022, 12:33 p.m.

Society of Virgin Islands Historians are hosting a poster contest in commemoration of the celebration of 175th anniversary of the 1848 Emancipation with the themes:

  • African-Caribbean men's/women's/children's occupations
  • family life
  • social conditions of the time
  • major and minor characters of the Emancipation
  • maroons (active resistance)on St. Croix
  • Fort Frederik's role in the Emancipation, African traditions shown in the disturbance
  • a discussion of the official Emancipation decree and the legacy of the Emancipation to students  

Information Required:

Poster: 1 side 24”X36” no tri-boards

On the back left-hand upper side, print the name of the student, the teacher and school’s name, grade, and the teacher’s and student’s telephone numbers, and email addresses.

Students will submit their original work on Friday, Jan 13, to Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts before 4 PM. The decision of the judges is final.

Winners in the two categories, grades 4-8 and 9-12, will be invited to attend the conference.

Jan 21, 12 noon -2 pm and orally present their poster informally to the conference participants. See the bibliography on the SVIH website for resources on Emancipation: www.vihistorians.neFor further information, contact: SVIH President Rezende at 340-998-4147,


Emancipation as Described by Charles Edwin Taylor

From the Danish West Indies Sources of history

From the Website My StCroixVI

Example of a Poster from VI Property & Procurement

Emancipation in the U.S. Virgin Islands 150 years of freedom 1848-1998 by Arnold Highfield.

Full text is available when you sign up for a free account at the archive.


“I Am David Hamilton Jackson” Student Art Show Opens at Fort Frederik

Dec. 13, 2022, 11:59 a.m.

VIDE, DPNR Launch 2nd Annual “I Am David Hamilton Jackson: Art for Activism” Project

The Virgin Islands Department of Education’s Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education (DVICE), in partnership with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’s Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums (DLAM) announces the launch of the 2nd Annual “I am David Hamilton Jackson: Art for Activism” project, which invites students in grades 7-12 to use a variety of creative forms, including poems, monologues, original songs, Tik Toks, reels, and works of art, to depict how students see themselves embodying the life of David Hamilton Jackson today.

As part of “Art for Activism,” students will also learn that during the Danish empire and the American Naval Administration’s control of the Territory, Jackson was a leading supporter of the freedom of the press. He, along with his contemporaries in the labor rights movement, worked to provide workers with fair wages, a higher quality of life, and improve working conditions. In addition, students will learn the ways in which Jackson advocated for the civil liberties of Virgin Islanders of color and how he used his newspaper, The Herald, to organize, inform, and mobilize the community.\

News Article:


Collage by SCECHS National Art Honor Society member Isolde Diaz Belle, 9th grade. (Photo courtesy of art teacher Danica David)

“I Am David Hamilton Jackson” student art show opens at Fort Frederik. This project is the second offered to students in the U.S. Virgin Islands with a collaboration between the Virgin Islands Department of Education, Division of Cultural Education, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums.

“The USVI has a long tradition of artists as activists, and Virgin Islands’ cultural production has historically served as a space of resistance,” DPNR, DLAM Territorial Chief Curator Monica Marin explained. “This annual project creates an opportunity for young Virgin Islanders to use their art to address the history of civil rights in the USVI critically and inspire dialogue around important social justice issues still impacting the territory today.”

Collage by SCECHS photography student Michael Peter, 12th grade. (Photo courtesy of art teacher Danica David)

Director of the Division of Cultural Education at the V.I. Department of Education Stephanie “Chalana” Brown added, “DPNR is providing the physical space for the project to be exhibited in person.”

“We [VIDE] are providing the archives for it,” said Brown. “Because of the Covid restrictions in 2021, the project was only online at the VIDE website. We are following in the fashion that we did last year. David Hamilton Jackson is just one of many of our Virgin Islanders that VIDE ensures our students gain more of a perspective of their contributions. The cultural education division makes sure all persons who put their energy into making the V.I. equitable for all V.I. leaders are celebrated. There will be a new 2022 archival link when all of the students’ artwork has been received by the Nov. 30 deadline. Both links, 2021 and 2022, and future links will be forever available on the VIDE website.”

Herald newspaper from Danish archives. (Photo courtesy of teacher Tralice Bracy)

​​​​According to Marin, the project combines research with storytelling and critical thinking. Students created a social justice collage to articulate why David Hamilton Jackson was so important in the fight for liberation and freedom. They were asked to use examples from their own lived experiences, drawing comparisons to David Hamilton Jackson’s work, in their own artistic responses.

Marin offered a PowerPoint presentation to art students at St. Mary’s Catholic School and the St. Croix Educational Complex High School. The presentation gave a background of David Hamilton Jackson and an introduction to collage art.

Collage created by St. Mary’s 7th-grade student D’Neia Herman. (Photo courtesy of teacher Tralice Bracy)

St. Mary’s 7th and 8th-grade art teacher Tralice Bracy said the project was a complex one for her students. They were given a comprehensive understanding of David Hamilton Jackson’s accomplishments, namely as publisher of the Herald newspaper. Then the class went online and pulled images of the Herald from the Danish archives.

According to Bracy, the students began to find articles of day-to-day living that included small news of social justice. They also found an article about St Mary’s School having a “Programme” on an evening in 1917. A few students chose to use some of the articles to include in their collage artwork. “As a teacher, to watch these 7th and 8th-graders synthesize all of the information, and then find a way to portray that information visually, was special,” Bracy said.

Collage created by St. Mary’s 8th-grade student Lamar Fleming. (Photo courtesy of teacher Tralice Bracy)

“Monica did a beautiful job of putting together the PowerPoint and introducing the students to Romare Bearden, a celebrated collage artist. She felt collage was a good way to bring colors and mixed media into their work where their voice could be ‘heard’ in each piece. In making their own tiny bulletin boards, they were able to see a different St. Croix unfold before them,” Bracy added.

SCECHS art teacher Danica David’s students in the National Art Honor Society and her photography class students participated in Marin’s PowerPoint presentation. Students learn about Virgin Islanders like David Hamilton Jacskon when they enter the elementary grades, and through middle and high school as a part of the VIDE curriculum, David noted.

Collage created by St. Mary’s 8th-grade student Meilene Henrys. (Photo courtesy of teacher Tralice Bracy)

“There are a few, maybe three, public domain images of Jackson, and I found it so amazing how the students used these similar images and created a beautiful, unique collage of their own,” David said. There is one of Jackson speaking in Denmark surrounded by a crowd of Danes and also the pictures of the Herald newspapers that are incorporated into their work, she observed.

David’s photography class students created digital collages and regular collages by cutting and pasting. “It was interesting how the project was a good break from the photography — a good hands-on — that they enjoyed. Some students worked during lunch. This was a social, emotional assignment for the photography students.”

Collage created by St. Mary’s 7th-grade student Gregory Bible. (Photo courtesy of teacher Tralice Bracy)

David said the students were so excited when they learned there was an opportunity for their work to be selected and showcased. “I found it was like art therapy. I saw the energy change in the classroom. It was different, exciting, and uplifting.”

David plans a field trip in December for the National Art Honor Society to visit Fort Frederik and view the artwork on display.

“It has been an absolute joy to work in collaboration with such brilliant educators — Danica David, Chalana Brown, and Tralice Bracy and their talented students,” Marin said. “I look forward to creating more projects at the intersection of Virgin Island’s history and the arts,”

“I would like to mention that the Division of VI Cultural Education is thankful to the students and teachers who participated in the project previously and currently,” Brown said.

“I Am David Hamilton Jackson” student art exhibit at Fort Frederik can be seen through January 2023. Museum hours are
Mon – Fri, 9 am to 4 pm.

For more information:


An Imperial Stranding: The Case of Leander Hassell Holder

July 18, 2022, 9:08 p.m.

Leander Hassell Holder


The Caribbean Genealogy Library will host Amelia Flood, a doctoral candidate at the Department of American Studies at Saint Louis University. Her research looks at key figures and occurrences around the time of the transfer of the Danish West Indies to the United States. Her virtual lecture on July 23rd at 2 pm AST will focus on one of these figures, Leander Hassell Holder.

Learn more and register at:

In 1924, a young mother faced a dilemma on the St. Thomas docks. While attempting to return to her life in New York City, Leander Hassell Holder, a St. Thomian who had migrated to Harlem prior to the 1917 transfer of the Danish West Indies, found herself stranded at the fraught center of U.S. imperial expansion, the legacies of Danish colonial rule, and newly restrictive immigration laws that were disrupting centuries-old migration patterns between the Caribbean and the United States mainland. This lecture by doctoral candidate Amelia Flood, explores the circumstances surrounding Leander Hassell Holder's stranding, the efforts and activism that contributed to the situation's creative resolution, and the ways a single woman's interrupted travels shed light on a complex moment in the history of the U.S. empire.

Smithsonian National Education Summit July 27th - July 28th

July 18, 2022, 8:59 p.m.



Free, two-day Smithsonian National Education Summit!

This year's theme is: “Together We Thrive: Creating Our Shared Future through Education,” acknowledging that given the right conditions and resources, all children can thrive.

Register for Summit

PreK-12 educators, librarians, media specialists, and policymakers nationwide are invited to participate in sessions exploring:

  • Innovative lesson design for English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Visual Arts, and Civics 


  • Methods to cultivate social-emotional learning, inquiry-based learning, and youth creativity


  • Insights from teachers and Smithsonian educators on instructional tools and resources to enhance learning 


Participants will also have the opportunity to hear about key issues and engaging learning strategies from experts from the Smithsonian and our collaborators at PBS Learning Media, Harvard’s Project Zero, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Library of Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, and many more.



Re - Dedication of the Statue, "Freedom," in Emancipation Park - St. Thomas

July 18, 2022, 6:57 p.m.

Re-Dedication of Freedom Bust


On July 3, 2022, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and combinations of both commemorated the 173rd anniversary of the day on which all enslaved Africans in the then-Danish West Indies demanded their freedom through a carefully executed strategy that included plantation workers and leaders risking their lives. Bright Bimpong is the commissioned artist of the Freedom Bust, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of African slaves in the Danish West Indies. The statue is located in parks on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, as well as in Denmark, where it was last known to reside in the building of the Ministry of Culture. The statue depicts an Akwamu warrior holding a conch shell and a cutlass, two instruments that are used as Caribbean revolution symbols. When the copper bust sculpture of former colonial ruler King Christian Ix was removed from the Emancipation Garden in St. Thomas and replaced with the statue "Freedom," the Emancipation Park on St. Thomas became an important landmark in the contemporary history of the Virgin Islands. A bill sponsored by former Senator Myron Jackson, as well as the signatures of community members and the result of community activism, authorized the removal of King Christian IX's statue. Re-dedication of the Statue of Freedom at Emancipation Park was accompanied by song, poetry, and speeches, as well as conch shell blowers, community members, and elected officials reinforcing the park's new narratives.of

Virgin Islands History Month 2022: Big Tree Challenge

March 10, 2022, 7:34 a.m.


Big Tree Challenge. #VIBigTreeChallenge.

Students are encouraged to contact their school librarian and request the book "Remarkable Big Trees in the United States Virgin Islands" in order to obtain coordinates for the island's largest trees. Alternatively, students can participate by tapping into community memory and locate and visit big trees in their surrounding neighborhoods. Ex. Baobob, Genip, Mango, Silk Tree, (Monkey don’t climb tree), Flamboyant, Calabash, Tambarind, Sanbox Tree.

Take a Photo and Post to Your Facebook or Instagram using Hashtag #virginislandshistorymonth and/or #VIBigTreeChallenge. Alternatively, you can email your submissions for a chance to win a prize.

Explore Virgin Islands Historic Spaces Challenge

March 10, 2022, 7:27 a.m.

Explore Virgin Islands Historic Spaces

Let us explore and contribute to the preservation of our islands' ecology and built heritage

Sites. Navigate using the coordinates provided on the supplemental resource page. Coordinates can be entered in the Maps App on your mobile device or in the Maps App on your personal or government-issued computer.


Submissions. take a Photo and Post to Your Facebook or Instagram Page using Hashtag #virginislandshistorymonth and/or #VIBigTreeChallenge. Alternatively, you can email your submissions to for a chance to win a prize.


What we are looking for. Add any family or personal experience of the space to the post or email submission. Ex. Tell us about any new knowledge you have gained or past experiences you and your family have had in relation to the historical space.

Celebrating Virgin Islands History Month 2022: "Step Into Heritage in Both Space and Mind"

March 8, 2022, 8:36 a.m.

Step into Heritage in Both Space and Mind

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education is promoting the islands' heritage through physical space this year. DVICE, in collaboration with several government agencies and non-profit organizations, is encouraging students to "Step into Heritage in Both Space and Mind." For a long period of time, the narratives of many estates and historical districts were told exclusively through one narrative, contributing to the erasure of the ingenuity of the Africans brought to these shores as enslaved people. Many of the enslaved Africans possessed exceptional craftsmanship skills and contributed to the vernacular of the then-Danish West Indies, now known as the Virgin Islands of the United States. 


These islands are inextricably linked to the legacies of built heritage. A large portion of the raw materials used to construct our historic structures came from the surrounding environment. We can learn about our islands' history through architecture and heritage spaces that incorporate elements from our natural environments and bricks imported from Europe, illustrating the Virgin Islands' intertwined African and European creolized heritage. Our ports, which now enable us to welcome many visitors, tell the story of bodies defying systemic subjugation in commerce and trade, as well as our use of early labor organizing to combat inequitable pay and treatment. The sugar mills that tower over our landscapes have the ability to connect us to our forefathers who toiled the land nearby; the large baobab trees remind us of power traveling legacies as the seeds of the trees were brought over in the hair of enslaved Africans; and the trees provided spaces of energy and empowerment for community action; particularly for leaders like D. Hamilton Jackson. 


As we empower ourselves in the climate change conversation, we can gain a better understanding of past harmful environmental practices and their consequences in the modern era, as well as how practices change but their underlying effects reappear in our contemporary era. 


For 2022, Step into Heritage in Both Space and Mind.

Repatriates, Recaptives and African Abolitionists: The Untold Story of Liberia's Founding Wednesday, Feb. 9, 1p.m. (Virgin Islands - Atlantic Time)

Feb. 7, 2022, 9:12 a.m.

As many of you are aware, Honorable Reverend Edward Blyden of the Virgin Islands spent a significant portion of his career in Liberia. This Black History Month, a free online webinar hosted by the Library of Congress, is scheduled for Wednesday, February 9th, at 1:00 p.m.
This webinar will be led by C. Patrick Burrowes, Ph.D. He was born in Liberia and is called "the people's professor" because of his willingness to share his deep knowledge of Liberian history freely with others. Before returning to Liberia in 2017, he was a tenured professor of communications and humanities at Penn State University. In August 2021, he uncovered a handwritten document missing since 1835 that sheds light on the 1821 purchase of land that became Monrovia, the capital city for the only United States colony in Africa. Burrowes says this is the most significant discovery of his career. This webinar does not require registration. To join the webinar, click here

Further info on Edward Wilmot Blyden

Edward Wilmot Blyden, widely regarded as the founder of Pan-Africanism, was born on August 3, 1832 in what are now the United States Virgin Islands. Blyden was born in Denmark's Danish West Indies to Free Black parents. Blyden studied with Rev. John P. Knox, the Dutch Reformed Church's pastor. Rev. Knox became Blyden's mentor after being impressed by his scholarly potential, and it was through him that Blyden decided to become a clergyman. Blyden traveled to the United States in May 1850 with Mrs. Knox, the clergyman's wife, to enroll at Rutgers' Theological College in New Jersey, but was denied admission due to his race.

Blyden's attention was drawn to Africa. Liberia gained independence as a West African nation in 1847. In 1850, Blyden accepted a teaching assignment in Liberia. Blyden began working at Alexander High School in Monrovia, Liberia, shortly after arriving in January 1851. Monrovia was founded on April 25, 1822, by members of the American Colonization Society (ACS), a group formed to repatriate former slaves born in the United States to Africa. There he began his studies of theology, the classics, geography, and mathematics on his own. Blyden was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and named principal of Alexander High School in 1858. Additionally, Liberian President Joseph Roberts appointed him editor of the Liberian Herald, the nation's sole newspaper at the time.

Blyden used scripture and science to refute the increasingly popular arguments about black inferiority in Europe and North America during this time period.

Read Blyden's original address, "Our Origin, Dangers, and Duties," delivered before the Mayor and Common Council of Monrovia, Liberia on July 26, 1865, the day of national independence.



People of the Caribbean in African American History: Arturo Schomburg and Nella Larsen US Postal Stamps

Feb. 3, 2022, 9:14 a.m.

Honoring Four of Harlem’s Historic Voices

The United States Postal Service Honored Four Historic Harlem Voices and Celebrated Voices of the Harlem Renaissance in 2020. Two of the four individuals mentioned have Caribbean roots.

Nella Larsen addressed the complexities of mixed-race people's lives, as well as issues of identity and belonging, in two novels. Larsen, now widely regarded as one of the most significant novels of the Harlem Renaissance, questioned theory and practice, and her work continues to encourage interpretations from previously marginalized perspectives.

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, an avid bibliophile and self-taught historian, exemplified the contributions of persons of African heritage on a global scale. Schomburg rescued black history from obscurity and safeguarded important cultural knowledge for future generations by his zealous collection of books, records, artwork, and other resources.

The stamps depict stylized pastel portraits of the four recipients based on historic images. Each stamp features background components derived from African patterns. The design features demonstrate the Harlem Renaissance writers and artists' heightened interest in African culture, history, and aesthetics. Gary Kelley created the artwork for these stamps, which were designed by Greg Breeding.

Honoring Four of Harlem’s Historic Voices

People of the Caribbean in African American History: Nella Larsen

Feb. 3, 2022, 8:51 a.m.

Nella Larsen

Nella Larsen was born Nellie Walker in Chicago in 1891. Her father was a black laborer from the Danish West Indies today known as the Virgin Islands of the United States. Nella's mother was a white domestic worker from Denmark. Nella's father left her shortly after her birth. Her mother eventually married Peter Larsen, a Scandinavian, and they had a daughter. According to Nella Larsen's biographers, mixed families had a difficult time finding communities that welcomed them, even if Nella assumed her stepfather's name.

George Hutchinson, Nella Larsen's biographer, wrote best on Larsen's issue of being raised by a loving mother but also a white mother of European background who did not completely grasp the challenges of raising a black child in an American environment.

"that she had no entrée into the world of the blues or of the black church. If she could never be white like her mother and sister, neither could she ever be black in quite the same way that Langston Hughes and his characters were black. Hers was a netherworld, unrecognizable historically and too painful to dredge up."

Nella Larsen was raised in a Caucasian household and community. Larsen attended public schools in Chicago that were predominantly composed of German and Scandinavian families. So, it was not until 1907, when she moved from Chicago to Nashville to attend the Fisk Normal School, a teacher-training school connected with historically black Fisk University, that she encountered non-white faces. Larsen first saw an all-black student body at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1907. Fisk's president and board of trustees were both white, but the majority of its faculty were black. Women students were prohibited to leave campus without a chaperone, and new rules regarding women's clothing and jewelry were implemented. Larsen was reportedly expelled from Fisk a year later for failing to adhere to the school's dress and conduct codes.

Larsen enrolled shortly at the Lincoln School for Nurses in the Bronx, which was founded to recruit black women to the profession. After acquiring the equivalent of a registered nurse's degree, she was hired as a supervisor of nurses at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1915. Though Tuskegee's hospital was the finest in the black South at the time, the nurses were reported to lack professional standing, and Tuskegee's student nurses were utilized as a labor force to clean and launder the hospital's linens, as well as assist white doctors with their white patients. Nella returned to New York to join the nursing staff at Lincoln Hospital, where she earned her nursing certificate previously. In 1919, she married Elmer Imes, the second African-American to receive a doctorate in physics. Larsen and Imes became active in the 1920s, when the Harlem Renaissance began to take shape, with a community of black intellectuals that included W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes.

Larsen abandoned nursing to pursue a career as a librarian after seeing the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic in New York.

Larsen began her professional career in literature and art as a volunteer aiding with the preparation of the New York Public Library's first exhibition of African-American painters. She eventually enrolled in the library's teaching program and graduated as the institution's first black female graduate. Nella and her husband were familiar with the NAACP's leadership, which included prominent figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Walter White, and James Weldon Johnson. However, Larsen was excluded from the black upper class, which valued school and family ties, fraternities, and sororities, due to her low birth as an immigrant and blended race child, as well as her lack of a college degree.

Nella reportedly felt more at ease amid the interracial bohemia epitomized by her close friend Carl Van Vechten, a white writer and photographer whose controversial 1926 work "Nigger Heaven" she defended against black contemporaries who believed he had slandered the race by depicting Harlem life as a drunken orgy.

Nella Larsen was a part of a counter-narrative about the black experience, and because African Americans had been painted as uneducated and deceptive people up to that point, many black intellectuals and people of prominence despised narratives that cast the black community in any light other than the bubble of upright and supposedly venerable people.

Larsen, who had a reputation for being extremely private about her past and life, began to open up after meeting a group of educated, light-skinned, and ambitious black women who visited Greenwich Village, New York's bohemian hotspot, as often as Harlem.

In 1928, Nella Larsen released her debut novel, Quicksand. The tale followed a bi-racial woman as she battled to avoid being imprisoned by unstable social circumstances. In her second work, "Passing," published in 1929, she depicts the story of two women who grew up together but married different men: one white and one black. Both female protagonists have the appearance of being Caucasian. Nella Larsen's works have been resurrected most recently in the black-and-white drama picture Passing, which was released in 2021. The film is based on Nella Larsen's 1929 novel of the same name, with the title referring to African-Americans whose skin tone was light enough to pass for white, a condition known as "passing." The film elevated Nella's work as a definitive conversation point on race and economics in contemporary America, while also illustrating that competing narratives existed during the Harlem Renaissance but were suppressed due to their contradiction with the movements' ideologies. "Passing" is available on Netflix.

For years, Nella's writing received less attention than that of her contemporaries, but with the release of the film adaptation of her novel, more people are getting acquainted with the bohemian Harlem Renaissance author. Nella died of a heart attack in her apartment on March 30, 1964. She was 72 years old.

NPR Essay. 'Passing' — the original 1929 novel — is disturbingly brilliant

Classroom Resources. American Passages: A Literary Survey

Biography Notes. Nella Larsen, Author of Passing & Quicksand

Youtube Trailer. Passing | Official Trailer | Netflix

2022 Black History Month - People of the Caribbean and its Diaspora in African American History

Feb. 1, 2022, 9:16 a.m.

People of the Caribbean and Its Diaspora in African American History













Caribbean people, notably Afro Caribbean individuals in the black equity movements, have long been a part of shaping the United States' social and intellectual advancement. This year, the Virgin Islands Department of Education's Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education is honoring eleven Afro Caribbean individuals who shaped the political and social environment of the United States. Arturo A Schomburg and Nella Larsen both have close ties to the Virgin Islands, having their parents originate in the Danish West Indies, also known as the Virgin Islands of the United States. Arturo A. Schomburg founded the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research library within the New York Public Library with a collection of over 11 million items. Additionally, Nella Larsen's works were recently resurrected in the black-and-white drama film Passing, which was released in 2021. The film is based on Nella Larsen's 1929 novel of the same name, and the title refers to African-Americans whose skin tone was light enough to be recognized as white, a condition known as "passing." The Division will include biographies of the following Caribbean activists, writers, entertainers, and visual artists throughout the month: Kwame Ture/Stokley Carmichael, Arturo A. Schomburg, Nella Larsen, Sidney Poitier, Marcus Garvey, Amanda Seales, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Grandmaster Flash, Edwidge Dandicat, and Roxanee Gay are all featured in the 2022 series.



People of the Caribbean in African American History: Arturo A. Schomburg

Feb. 1, 2022, 8:46 a.m.

Arturo A. Schomburg









Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was born in January 10, 1874, in Santurce, Puerto Rico to Maria Josefa, a Black midwife from St. Croix, and Carlos Federico Schomburg, a merchant and son of a German immigrant to Puerto Rico. During Schomburg's elementary school years, one of his teachers asserted that Blacks lacked history, heroes, and accomplishments. Schomburg resolved to prove the teacher wrong by locating and documenting the accomplishments of Africans on their own continent and in the diaspora.

 In 1891, Schomburg relocated to New York City, New York. He was a leader in the Puerto Rican and Cuban liberation movements and formed Las dos Antillas, a cultural and political organization dedicated to the islands' independence. Schomburg, disillusioned by the failure of the Cuban revolutionary movement and the cession of Puerto Rico to the United States, shifted his focus to the African American community. Schomburg was a pivotal intellectual figure during the Harlem Renaissance, dedicated his life to promoting Black history.   

While Schomburg was able to obtain jobs that were previously unavailable to other Black people due to discrimination, he continued to face racism.  Schomburg held a variety of jobs, including elevator operator, printer, Spanish teacher, porter, and clerk at a law firm. Schomburg attended evening classes at Manhattan Central High School for a portion of his early years in New York.

Schomburg coined the term "afroborinqueno" while residing in Harlem to honor his African ancestry as a Latino. According to the Schomburg Center, a branch of the New York Public Library, black people faced severe discrimination in New York City in the 1890s and early 1900s. The center notes that they were "denied employment as longshoremen, street cleaners, baggage handlers, cement carriers, and garment workers."

Schomburg's essay "The Negro Digs Up His Past" appeared in a Survey Graphic special issue. The journal emphasized sociological and political research and analysis of national and international issues. Schomburg promoted African-American writers' artistic endeavors through the publication. Later in the year, the essay was included in Alain Locke's anthology "The New Negro." Schomburg's essay influenced a large number of African-Americans to begin researching their ancestors. Schomburg wrote in it that "Black people must delve deeply into their own history in order to affirm their identity in the face of persistent oppression."

Schomburg's collection of literature, art and other artifacts was purchased by the New York Public Library for $10,000 in 1926. Schomburg was appointed curator of the Schomburg Collection of African-American Literature and Art at the New York Public Library's 135th Street branch. Schomburg used the proceeds from the sale of his collection to expand the collection by traveling to Spain, France, Germany, England, and Cuba to acquire additional artifacts of African history. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is now one of the foremost research libraries devoted to the African diaspora. 

Schomburg was also named curator of the Negro Collection at Fisk University's library, in addition to his position at the New York Public Library. When Schomburg began building the library in 1929, Thomas E. Jones was president of Fisk in Nashville, Tennessee. He collaborated with his close friend, sociologist Charles S. Johnson, to repeat his work in New York by establishing a black archive in Fisk University's Cravath Hall, complete with a reading room. According to researchers, at the period, black students were encouraged to attend trade schools rather than read for leisure. Fisk established a reading room for Schomburg's students in order to "instill a desire" for leisure reading.

The whole Black history collection of the New York Public Library was designated the Schomburg Collection in 1940. The library's 135th Street branch was renamed the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in 1972. The Center is home to 10 million items.


Reading. Antillano, Negro, and Puerto Rican in New York 1891-1938: 

Podcast. In to America: Harlem On My Mind: Arturo Schomburg

Essay. The Negro Digs Up His Past (1925)

Podcast. Harlem on My Mind: Arturo Schomburg | Into America Podcast – Ep. 101 | MSNBC

Common Core Classroom Discussion. Discussion Questions




People of the Caribbean in African American History: Kwame Ture/ Stokely Carmichael

Jan. 26, 2022, 8:53 a.m.

Stokely Carmichael

Information collected from and “Stokely: A Life,” by historian Peniel E. Joseph 

Kwame Ture/ Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael was a civil rights leader in the United States who coined the rallying cry for Black nationalism, "Black Power," in the 1960s. He arrived in New York City in 1952, having been born in Trinidad. He joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while a student at Howard University and was arrested for his involvement with the Freedom Riders. He departed from MLK Jr.'s approach to self-defense, which was nonviolent.

Stokely Carmichael was only nineteen years old when he took part in the 1961 Freedom Rides; he became the youngest person ever imprisoned for his participation when he was jailed attempting to integrate a "whites only" cafeteria in Jackson, Mississippi.

Stokely Carmichael became an American citizen in 1954 when he was 13 years old, and his family relocated to Morris Park in the Bronx, a primarily Italian and Jewish neighborhood. Carmichael quickly rose to prominence as the only Black member of the Morris Park Dukes street gang. In 1956, he passed the admissions test to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, where he met a completely new social group—the offspring of New York City's wealthy white liberal elite. Carmichael was well-liked by his new classmates; he frequently attended parties and dating white women. He was, however, acutely aware of the racial distinctions that separated him from his classmates even at that young age. Carmichael subsequently reflected on his high school friendships, saying, "Now that I see how phony they all were, how much I despise myself for it." With these cats, being liberal was a game of intellect. "They were still white, and I was Black.”

Although Carmichael had been aware of the American civil rights battle for years, it wasn't until he saw images of a sit-in on television toward the end of high school that he felt motivated to join the struggle. "When I first heard about the Negroes sitting in at lunch counters down South,” he later recalled, “I thought they were just a bunch of publicity hounds. But one night when I saw those young kids on TV, getting back up on the lunch counter stools after being knocked off them, sugar in their eyes, ketchup in their hair—well, something happened to me. Suddenly I was burning. " He joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), picketed a New York Woolworth's store, and traveled to Virginia and South Carolina sit-ins.

After graduating from high school in 1960, Carmichael was offered scholarships to a range of elite primarily white universities. He instead elected to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., which has a predominantly Black student body. He majored in philosophy at the university, where he studied the writings of Camus, Sartre, and Santayana, as well as ways to apply their theoretical frameworks to the civil rights movement's problems. Simultaneously, Carmichael increased his involvement with the movement as a whole. He embarked on his first Freedom Ride as a freshman in 1961, an integrated bus journey through the South to protest interstate travel segregation. He was caught in Jackson, Mississippi, during that trip and imprisoned for 49 days for entering the "whites only" bus stop waiting area. Carmichael persisted in his activism throughout his undergraduate years, taking part in another Freedom Ride in Maryland, a demonstration in Georgia, and a hospital workers' strike in New York. In 1964, he earned an honors degree from Howard University. Carmichael dropped out of school during a pivotal time in the civil rights movement's history. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) called 1964's summer "Freedom Summer," launching an aggressive voter registration campaign in the Deep South. Carmichael joined SNCC as a recent college graduate, quickly advancing to the position of field organizer for Lowndes County, Alabama, by his eloquence and natural leadership abilities. When Carmichael moved to Lowndes County in 1965, African Americans were the majority of the population but were completely unrepresented in government. Carmichael increased the number of registered Black voters in the county from 70 to 2,600 in one year, 300 more than the registered white voters.

Carmichael created the Lowndes County Freedom Organization after being dissatisfied with the responses of either of the main political parties to his registration efforts. To comply with a requirement that all political parties have an official logo, he chose a Black panther, which eventually inspired the Black Panthers (another Black activist movement created in Oakland, California).

Carmichael committed at this point in his life to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s ideology of peaceful resistance. Along with moral objection to violence, proponents of nonviolent resistance felt that the method would increase public support for civil rights by establishing a stark contrast—captured on nightly television—between the peaceful protestors and the police and hecklers opposing them. Carmichael, like many other young activists, got dissatisfied with the slow pace of change and with having to undergo repeated acts of violence and humiliation at the hands of white police officers.

By the time Carmichael was chosen national head of the SNCC in May 1966, he had essentially abandoned the idea of peaceful resistance to which he — and SNCC — had formerly subscribed. As chairman, he steered the SNCC in a rather radical direction, signaling that white members, who had been actively recruited, were no longer welcome. Carmichael's term as chairman — and arguably his life — was defined barely weeks after he assumed leadership of the organization. In June 1966, James Meredith, a civil rights activist and the University of Mississippi's first Black student, began on a solitary "Walk Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith was shot and rendered unable of continuing around 20 miles into Mississippi. Carmichael determined that SNCC volunteers should continue the march in his stead, and upon reaching Greenwood, Mississippi, on June 16, a furious Carmichael delivered the address for which he would be most remembered. "For six years, we've been chanting 'liberty,'" he explained. "From now on, we will refer to ourselves as 'Black Power.'"

The term "Black power" soon gained popularity as a rallying cry for a younger, more militant generation of civil rights workers. Internationally, the term gained currency as a rallying cry against the European colonization of Africa. Carmichael defined Black power in 1968 in his book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation: "It is a call for Black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for Black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations. "

Carmichael's embrace of black power also marked a departure from King's nonviolent approach and its ultimate objective of racial integration. Rather than that, he identified the phrase with Malcolm X's philosophy of Black separatism. "When you talk of Black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created," Carmichael stated in one address. Unsurprisingly, the shift to Black power was divisive, instilling dread in many white Americans, even those previously sympathetic to the civil rights movement, and deepening divisions within the movement between elder proponents of nonviolence and younger separatists. Martin Luther King referred to Black power as "an unfortunate choice of words."

In 1967, Carmichael embarked on a life-changing journey, visiting revolutionary leaders in Cuba, North Vietnam, China, and Guinea. He resigned from the SNCC and became Prime Minister of the more radical Black Panthers upon his return to the United States. He then spent the next two years traveling the country and publishing writings on Black nationalism, Black separatism, and, increasingly, pan-Africanism, the latter of which became Carmichael's life cause. Carmichael left the Black Panthers and relocated to Conakry, Guinea, in 1969, dedicating his life to the cause of pan-African unification. "America does not belong to Black people," he stated as his reason for leaving the country. Carmichael changed his name to Kwame Toure in honor of two controversial African leaders, Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and Guinea's Sekou.

Miriam Makeba, a South African singer, married Carmichael in 1968. He later married Marlyatou Barry, a Guinean physician, following their divorce. Carmichael spent the remainder of his life in Guinea, despite numerous journeys to the United States to espouse pan-Africanism as the only true way to liberation for Black people worldwide. Prostate cancer was diagnosed in 1985 for Carmichael.  According to historian Peniel E. Joseph, Ture has received less attention than some other civil rights leaders, largely because he went to Africa and was not martyred like Dr. King and Malcolm X, both killed at 39.  Mr. Joseph said in an online publication that the complexity of Ture “makes him a difficult subject."


Critical Thinking:  "Stokely: A Life" - A Conversation Between Peniel Joseph and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

Document. What We Want - Kwame Touré (Stokely Carmichael) Speech


Youtube News Report. What's in a Name? ft. Kwame Ture (1989)

Youtube Interview. Eyes on the Prize: Kwame Ture Interview (1986)


Audio. 4 Minute Listen: Stokely Carmichael, A Philosopher Behind The Black Power Movement 

PBS News Report. Beyond ‘Black Power,’ recounting the under-told story of Stokely Carmichael

African American History and Culture Museum Virtual Museum Tour

Jan. 25, 2022, 12:17 p.m.

Smithsonian - 

 African American History and Culture Museum

Community + Conversation with a Docent, Creative Griots

Wednesday, February 2 | 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Virtual visitors have an opportunity to engage in a conversational journey with a museum docent.  You’ll discover how identity, politics, and creativity are articulated through African American performance, music, cultural expressions, and the visual arts. We will explore the ways African Americans have harnessed these elements to fuel social change while creating a vibrant culture that extends to the African Diaspora.

Our virtual guided programs are a wonderful way for adults and college students to enjoy the museum from home, in the office or at school and to participate in a fun and interactive learning environment. Using the online meeting platform Zoom, participants can examine and respond to objects in the museum. To participate in this program, you must have access to a device with Zoom capabilities (including a microphone, speaker, and camera) and a reliable internet connection.

Exhibition Experience:  Visual Arts


Sponsor:African American History and Culture Museum
Venue:African American History and Culture Museum
Event Location:Online
Cost:This program is free for participants. Registration is required as space is limited to 50 guests.
Get Tickets or Register:

Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts Workshops

Jan. 14, 2022, 9:38 a.m.

Art @ Home 1

Art @ Home
Wednesday Jan 26 & Thursday Jan 27
4-5pm/ Free Zoom
Age 12-18
Sharonda "Eccentrich" Richardson is currently the 14th ranked female poet in the world according to her placement during the Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2017. Eccentrich is a member of the celebrated spoken word team, Dada, who finished 1st in the nation during the 2017 National Poetry Slam.


Art @ Home 2

Saturday Workshops at CMCArts Courtyard
Limited to 10 students each session
Youth Workshop Jan 22/ Age 8-12
Teen Workshop Jan 29/ Age 13-18
Students will paint on canvas with artist Tamara Michael.  The student's work will be considered for an upcoming juried Moko Jumbie Exhibition with professional artist. 

Art @ Home 3

Wednesday, Jan 19
Exploring Career Pathways: Music Producer with James "Jamaki" Knight/ Central HS Graduate
Free Zoom/4-5pm
K-12th Grade ( You can never start too early in discussing potential careers.)
In this zoom, students will find out about the music industry. James "Jamaki" Knight will share his music story and take questions from the students. At the end of the zoom he will give the students a music challenge. The students will have a week to work on their song. The winner will receive $150 gift certificate. All the students who attend the zoom session their names will be put in a drawing for $75 gift certificate. Students get to choose from Riddims Music Store or Frame Up (art supplies) for their gift certificate.

Art for Activism Project: "I Am David Hamilton Jackson" Online Student Exhibit

Jan. 12, 2022, 12:19 p.m.

View Student Exhibit

Students have the opportunity to envision themselves as social justice warriors and to embody the spirit of Virgin Islands leader and activist David Hamilton Jackson through various mediums of art.

I Am David Hamilton Jackson Art for Activism Student Montage


We are ecstatic and grateful for your recent participation in the “I Am David Hamilton Jackson- Art for Activism Project.” Your creativity showed that you were able to draw on the experiences of David Hamilton Jackson to develop your own perspectives and understanding of how to challenge social injustices through academic work and art. This Art for Activism project is a collaboration between the Virgin Islands Department of Education – Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources- Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums.

David Hamilton Jackson was a valiant defender of equity, who fought for a free press, better-working and living conditions, and constitutional rights in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the territory's United States naval rule. Mr. Jackson and many of his peers, who were also labor leaders, laid the groundwork for other labor movements in the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean.

We hope that your participation in the "I Am David Hamilton Jackson- Art for Activism Project" has inspired you to take action to improve your community and the world. Your work is displayed on the front page of the Virgin Islands Department of Education's website,, as part of the online "Art for Activism" exhibit. The DLAM at DPNR compiled a video of student visual art works and displayed it as part of the DLAM's Christmas pop-up on Sunday, December 19th. Both DVICE and DLAM will screen the video once more during Youth Art Week in March at the Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism Building

Recognize labor unions and Dr. Martin Luther King's pro-union advocacy.

Jan. 12, 2022, 12:08 p.m.

Recognize labor unions and Dr. Martin Luther King's pro-union advocacy.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a legal holiday in the Virgin Islands of the United States and is the first location, place, territory, or state to do so. Martin Luther King is widely recognized for his work in the African American community in alleviating racial inequalities in the United States; however, King was also an activist for fair labor and a strong supporter of labor unions. Aligned with the movements King participated in, the Virgin Islands boasts one of the Caribbean's earliest legally recognized and documented labor movements.

The St. Croix Labor Union, led by David Hamilton Jackson and a number of his contemporaries, including Ralph deChabert, was influential. Rather than resort to physical altercation and risk of loss, organized strikes were used to demand more equitable wages and living conditions in 1916, an eventful year for labor movements in the then-Danish West Indies. The most notabale labor uprising in the territory is arguably the 1878 Revolution, also known as the “Fireburn,” which occurred for a variety of reasons, but most notably, workers were trapped by inequitable labor laws that kept many members of the African Diaspora in conditions closely related to slavery, which was toppled forcibly 30 years earlier in 1848. Following the 1878 Fireburn, which is also examined as a labor riot, the port of St. Thomas established dominance in the coaling industry, with numerous coaling companies establishing coal depots in the vicinity of St. Thomas' harbor. Both men and women from the community worked for these businesses, and the work was strenuous. While still subject to Danish colonial rule, workers in St. Thomas were compensated in the depreciating Mexican dollar. On September 12, 1892, coal miners declared a strike and demanded payment in Danish silver. Queen Coziah was a prominent strike leader, and before the strike devolved into violence and Danish soldiers were summoned to quell the workers, the coaling companies agreed to pay their workers in Danish silver.

Later, the St. Thomas labor union, led by George A. Moorehead, striked in October 1916, forcing three ships to reroute and seek coal from other harbors. The West India Company then reached an agreement with the St. Thomas labor union and began paying newly unionized workers higher wages. In 1916 as well, the St. Croix labor union organized a general strike among the workers, and after one month of action, significant results were achieved. The Union reached an agreement with the Planters' Society, and the minimum daily wage for a worker increased from 25 cents to 35 cents.

The Virgin Islands of the United States recognized the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King's work in the field of labor relations and pushed for MLK Day to be recognized first in the territory before it was recognized by any other state or country. Martin Luther King Jr. on March 29, 1968 traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of a local labor union representing black sanitary public works employees. Workers were on strike in demand of higher wages and better working conditions. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on Thursday, April 4, 1968, while standing on the second-floor balcony of a Memphis motel. The Virgin Islands remembers and celebrates the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

David Hamilton Jackson Month - "Do My People Do"

Nov. 23, 2021, 10:51 a.m.

David Hamilton Jackson

Students have the opportunity to envision themselves as social justice warriors and to embody the spirit of Virgin Islands leader and activist David Hamilton Jackson through the Art for Activism project "I am David Hamilton Jackson."  

The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education of the Virgin Islands Department of Education and the Division of Library, Archives, and Museums of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources are inviting students to create works inspired by David Hamilton Jackson's activism. November has been designated as the official month to honor Jackson's lifetime achievements in advancing the right to freedom of the press, voting rights, higher wages, worker's rights, and organizing the territory's first labor union, which enabled him to campaign for human rights and gain greater self-governance in an era when racial inequality was intolerable for the vast majority of Black Virgin Islanders. 

Since the Project's announcement on David Hamilton Jackson Day, also known as Liberty Day, both agencies have held a virtual meeting, which was attended by over 170 students. Students may choose from a variety of mediums to create their symbolic works, which may include the following:  

  • Drawing a self-portrait or creating a mixed media artwork,  
  • A monologue or play via Tik Tok or another video app  
  • Digital art, animation, or photography  

The project teaches students about historical injustices and how to identify and act on contemporary issues affecting themselves, their local and global communities.  

A third creative session on the TEAMS app will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021. Invitations will be sent via VIDE's internal email system and to interested private schools.  

In Early December, the project will be exhibited virtually for the community to view. The deadline for this project is Tuesday, November 30th, 2021. Students may submit their work to their teachers, guidance counselors, or to the representatives of the coordinating agencies whose email addresses are listed below. or

2021 V.I. Government House D. Hamilton Jackson Day Ceremony


Nov. 23, 2021, 10:39 a.m.

National Native American Heritage Month during November celebrates the diverse and rich culture, history, and traditions of Native people. The observance is also a time to educate anyone and everyone about the different tribes, raise awareness about the struggles native people faced as well as in the present. American Indian pictures, words, names, and stories are a crucial part of American history and help mold our life today. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

Use #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth to post on social media. Keep Native American Heritage alive this November, and for all the months to follow! Here are a few ways you can celebrate this month.

  1. Read a Native American history book, or a novel that dives into the history and traditions of native people. Movies like Pocahontas tend to sensationalize truth about Native American history, so reading a book will likely give you a more realistic vision.
  2. Play a game of lacrosse! Believe it or not, lacross was one variety of indigenous stickball games the American Indians played as early as the 12th century.
  3. There are a few movies made about Native Americans that aren’t as oversensationalized and are definitely worth a watch. Try Reel Injun, Smoke Signals, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, and Winter in the Blood. 
  4. Get in the kitchen and try a native recipe! There are tons of mouthwatering recipes from native soups, to roasted duck, or even pumpkin bread for a tasty fall treat.
  5. Finally, learn the true story about the very first thanksgiving. 


Library of Congress: 

National Endowment for the Humanities:


National Education Association

Lesson Plans

Student-Centered Digital Learning Activities
Check out these digital education tools, lesson plans, and resources available for free and downloadable from the National Indian Education Association.

Interdisciplinary Stories, Webinars, Films, and Lesson Plans
The Global Oneness Project offers a library of multimedia stories comprised of award-winning films, photo essays, and essays, many with companion curriculum and discussion guides.

Create Your Own Native American Board Game
Students in grades K-5 research and use basic elements of a selected Native American tribe to create an original board game.

Native Americans Today
Students in grades 3-5 compare prior knowledge of Native Americans with information gathered while reading about contemporary Native Americans.

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text
Students in grades 3-5 use traditional stories of Native peoples to begin a study of animals in Alaska.

Amplify the Voices of Contemporary Native Peoples in Your Classroom
Through Illuminative's artwork and lesson plans, students will learn about six contemporary Indigenous changemakers fighting against invisibility and their many important contributions to this country.

A Story of Survival: The Wampanoag and the English
A Thanksgiving Lesson Plan Booklet from a Native American Perspective (Oklahoma City Public Schools)

HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH - September 15 - October 15

Sept. 8, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

Beginning on September 15, and continuing through to October 15, we recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month. During the four weeks, celebrations honor the heritage and contributions made by members of the Hispanic community. President Lyndon Johnson first declared Hispanic Heritage Week in September of 1968. Please view the resources from the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Hispanic Heritage Month Resources for Educators and Parents

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a period from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.


  • La Familia - K-5Even very young students know, and may occasionally use, words that are Spanish in origin—rodeo, tortilla, lasso, and macho, to name a few. And many are able to count from 1 to 10 in Spanish, due in large part to early exposure to the language provided by children's television programming. This sense of familiarity with Spanish, combined with the excellent language acquisition skills possessed by students in this age group, will help make this unit on Spanish culture an exciting but comfortable experience for your class. Students will learn about families in various Spanish cultures and gain a preliminary knowledge of the Spanish language, learning the Spanish names for various family members.


CBS News (7-12 grade band)

  • CBSN Originals | Fighting for Paradise: Puerto Rico’s Future
    In the midst of economic, political, and climate crises, Puerto Rico has lost nearly 12% of its population over the last decade, mostly to join the 6 million Puerto Rican diasporas now living in the 50 states. Tax incentives meant to lure investments have led some Puerto Ricans to fear that the island is turning into a fiscal paradise for wealthy outsiders, driving even more locals out. Many administrations have pushed for a more prosperous Puerto Rico, but they often blame the territorial status for falling short. Is statehood, independence, or something else the solution? And who gets to decide? CBSN Originals is our premium documentary series that is sure to challenge your views on this and a variety of other issues. See the full series library.


NPR (National Public Radio)

  • La Brega: Episode 1-7 (Available in both Spanish and English): WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios present "La Brega: Stories of the Puerto Rican Experience": a seven-part podcast series that uses narrative storytelling and investigative journalism to reflect and reveal how La Brega has defined so many aspects of life in Puerto Rico. Available in English and Spanish. Created by a collective of Puerto Rican journalists, producers, musicians and artists; presented by Alana Casanova-Burgess.

PBS (Public Broadcast System)

  • Latino Public Broadcasting Education Collection: This collection includes Lesson Plan (45), Video (30), Media Gallery (26), Document (13), Interactive Lesson (1), Interactive (1) for Grades 9-12, 6-8. Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) is the leader in the development, production, acquisition, and distribution of film and digital cultural media that is representative of Latino people, or addresses issues of particular interest to Latino Americans. These programs are produced for dissemination to public broadcasting stations and other public media entities. Providing a voice for the diverse Latino community throughout the United States. LPB also partners with PBS Learning Media through the Latino Public Broadcasting Collection which offers educator guides, lesson plans, and other materials to engage students with the rich history of the Latino experience.

NEA (National Education Association)

  • Hispanic Heritage MonthCelebrate National Hispanic Heritage month with the following lessons, activities, videos, and more.

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

  • Hispanic Heritage Month Resources
  • Young Portrait Explorers - Hispanic Heritage Month: Virtual workshop of children 3-6 and adult companions as we learn about art, history, and more. Register to explore these portraits in thirty-minute programs incorporating close looking at portraiture as well as movement and art-making. See the schedule.
    • Marisol Escobar Sept. 22
    • Pedro Martinez Sept. 29
    • Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez Oct.6
    • Carmen Herrera Oct 13
  • Homegrown Concert: Cambalache
    Wednesday, September 29
    12:30 pm – 1:00 pm EDT – Virgin Islands
    Cambalache, named for a Spanish word that means "exchange," is a Chicano-Jarocho group based in East Los Angeles. Cambalache plays and promotes traditional son jarocho through performance, music workshops, and educational demonstrations. 
    Link to concert
  • A Celebration of Children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx Literature at the Library of Congress
    Monday, October 11
    6:00 – 7:00 pm EDT – Virgin Island

    Join the Hispanic Reading Room at the Library of Congress and Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) in a virtual celebration of children’s and YA Latin American and Latinx literature. Hear from authors and illustrators amplifying stories and voices from across Latin American and Latinx communities. Panelists Angela Burke Kunkel, Aida Salazar, Raúl The Third, Sili Recio, and Yamile Saied Méndez will share their creative processes, discuss where they find inspiration, and how they address difficult themes about Latin American and Latinx experiences in their work for young readers. We invite families, educators, and students to take part in this unique celebration during Hispanic Heritage Month. 
    Register for the event

Learning for Justice

  • Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
  • Unmaking “Hispanic”: Teaching the Creation of Hispanic Identity: “Hispanic” heritage includes a diverse range of cultures, nationalities, histories, and identities. Link to resource.
  • Honoring LGBTQ Voices During Hispanic Heritage Month: Too often, curricula and media position racial and sexual identities as either-ors. Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to change that. Link to resource

Upcoming Observances: Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Friendship Day – Second Monday of October

Sept. 7, 2021, 1:03 p.m.

Virgin Islands – Puerto Rico Friendship Day is a public holiday celebrated in the Virgin Islands of the United States on the second Monday in October. Established in 1964 by Governor Paiewonsky, it honors Puerto Ricans who reside in or who have made substantial contributions to the Virgin Islands. The mainland of Puerto Rico lies approximately 40 miles from the US Virgin Islands with the Puerto Rican islands of Culebra and Vieques in between and many Puerto Ricans have lived in the Virgin Islands since at least the turn of the twentieth century. As of 2010, around 10% of the population of the United States Virgin Islands. The date was chosen to fall on the same day as Columbus Day.

A large migration of Puerto families settled in the Virgin Islands starting in the 1920s. Earlier, Puerto Rican intellectual, medical doctor, and independence advocate Ramón Emeterio Betances took refuge from political discourse on the islands of St. Thomas. Betances penned the famous proclamation, "Los Diez Mandamientos de Los hombre Libres" (The Ten Commandments of Free Men), in Saint Thomas while in exile in November 1867. The proclamation is directly based on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, adopted by France's National Assembly in 1789, which contained the principles that inspired the French Revolution.