The 3rd of July...
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
July 3rd is Emancipation Day in the USVI.
Yes, you read that right! On that date in the year 1848, 9,000 enslaved black residents on the island of St. Croix, led by Moses Gottlieb (Buddhoe), a free man, revolted and demanded their freedom. Danish Governor, Peter von Scholten had no choice but to free all enslaved persons in the Danish West Indies. Yet and still, it took 11 years later, in 1859 to completely free the last known slaves in the territories.
July 3rd is a very important public holiday for many islanders and it's significance ties closely with the celebration of Juneteenth (Freedom Day) on June 19th. Slavery was abolished in the United States 17 years after, in 1865, with the passing of the 13th Amendment.
We commemorate our emancipation as a people with the well known public park, Emancipation Gardens, on Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Within this park is a very powerful statue of a man blowing a conch shell and holding a knife in his left hand. The conch shell was a tool used to alert the former slaves that it was time to come to work in the morning. Now, the conch shell symbolizes the courage, strength and tenacity of my ancestors Fight to Freedom!