Happy Emancipation Day Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands will observe two very significant holidays on July 3 and 4 - the 171st anniversary of the Emancipation of enslaved Africans in the former Danish West Indies and the 242nd Independence of the United States of America. Sen. Allison DeGazon is encouraging residents to take part in the upcoming festivities planned for both occassions, but to also not forget the significance of each holiday and what they represent for the the Virgin Islands as a territory and the United States of America as a nation.
Emancipation Day commemorates July 3, 1848, when Gov. Peter Von Scholten declared the enslaved Africans of the Danish West Indies free after they marched into Frederiksted demanding their freedom. As the site of emancipation, Frederiksted has been locally called “Freedom City.”
“Saying no more to an abysmal life in bondage, enslaved Africans boldly marched for freedom and demanded an end to European tyrany. This march on July 3 brought an end to years of the oppression and exploitation of our ancestors,” DeGazon said. “Each day, we must remain forever thankful and continue to do our part to ensure their efforts were not in vain and to never forget their sacrifice.”
In honor of the celebration, July 3 will be a day filled with activities. The first of the activities will be the Fort-to-Fort Freedom walk beginning at 5 a.m at Fort Christianvaern. After the walk, the History, Culture and Tradition Foundation will host an Emancipation Commemoration Ceremony in Buddhoe Park from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The festivities for the day will end with a tramp hosted by cultural and musical icons Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights from 6 p.m. until.
The 33rd Legislature will then end Freedom Week with a commemoration activity in St. Thomas from 10 a.m. to noon. “This is our week. Enjoy the days off with your families and enjoy the activities planned, but never lose sight of what’s important and those who paved the way for us all,” DeGazon said.
Meanwhile on July 4th , the Frederiksted Economic Development Association will be dazzling residents with a firework display and a sunset Jazz event with a performance by Kipper Jones RnB Circus.