The 21st Virgin Islands Board of Education is proud to join the Virgin Islands community in commemorating the anniversary of the 175th emancipation from slavery, July 3, 1848. Several nations brought enslaved people from Africa to the Caribbean to plow the land and till the soil. Enslaved people lived with struggles, hardships, and under inhumane conditions. The nation of Denmark, with its gendarmes, colonized the Danish West Indies, St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John by creating plantations to cultivate sugar cane and produce sugar for profit.

July 3, 1848, was the most critical day in Virgin Islands History. On that day, thousands of plantation enslaved people, who detested inhumane conditions and wanted to be freedmen, revolted after months of covert planning! Under the leadership of enslaved laborer John “General Buddhoe,” “Moses” Gottlieb, Admiral Martin King, and many other plantations workers, they started rioting & burning plantations from Frederiksted, moving towards Christiansted.

General Peter Carl Frederik von Scholten, who was Governor-General of the Danish West Indies from 1827 to 1848, was called to Frederiksted to deal with the slave uprising on St. Croix and was compelled to declare, “All Unfree in the Danish West Indies are from today Free!”

Chairman Dr. Kyza A. Callwood reminds us that “the hardships of slavery” led us to fight for emancipation. On behalf of the Board, he encourages us to be steadfast and use the 175th anniversary to continue fighting to make the United States Virgin Islands a shining example of Leadership, Education, Economics, Diversity, Culture, Resilience, Achievements, and FREEDOM!