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OPINION: VIGOP Says Emancipation Day Is A Day To Reflect On The Struggles And Victories Of The Past

Jevon O.A. Williams with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in Washington, D.C. (VIGOP)

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CHRISTIANSTED — The following statement by Republican National Committeeman
Jevon O.A. Williams was issued on behalf of the Republican Party of the United States Virgin

“While many across the United States and other U.S. Territories have already started to prepare
for the 4th of July and other traditional American Independence celebrations, today marks a
historic holiday here in the US Virgin Islands — Emancipation Day. On this special day, it is
vital that we reflect on the hardships our ancestors endured, the battles fought, lost and won in
the pursuit of freedom.”

Almost 80 years after revolutionists from the thirteen colonies rose up against English tyranny in
1776 and long before President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that as
of January 1, 1863, all slaves held in captivity by the rebellious states “shall be then,
thenceforward, and forever free”, our ancestors on St Croix joined together and coordinated an

Williams went on to state, “The Virgin Islands holds a sacred place in black history as we were
the second island in the Caribbean after Haiti to demand our freedom which subsequently
setforth the precedent for emancipation throughout the other Caribbean islands. Credit has long
been attributed to then Danish Governor General Peter von Scholten for the abolishment of
slavery, while this is technically true, emancipation was actually brought forth by the uprising of
our ancestors on July 3, 1848, which forced the hand of Governor General Peter von Scholten to
do it much earlier than he planned to”.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

1 Comment

  1. Luz
    July 4, 2017 at 9:09 AM — Reply

    We are not yet freed . Our freedom is no freedom when we get fired for choosing our choice of who should be our next governor . Freedom is just a word around here in the US VI. Who proclaim we free are is lying to us.

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