[UPDATE] Dr. Tyson’s presentation was recorded and appears below. Enjoy!
CHRISTIANSTED – On Thursday, March 10, 2016, 5:30 pm, Dr. George F. Tyson, Historian, and President of the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), will speak about the demographic atrributes of ethnic Africans on St. Croix during the Nineteenth Century.
It has been estimated that as many as fifty thousand enslaved Africans were brought into St. Croix by the perpetrators of the Danish Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade between 1734 and 1802. When that nefarious commerce officially ended in 1803, some 11,000 enslaved and free Africans, comprising forty-three percent of the total population, were struggling to survive in the towns and plantation villages throughout the island. Their little known story up to Emancipation and beyond is the focus of this presentation.
Drawing on archival documentation excavated and compiled by VISHA in its extraordinary St. Croix Population Database 1734-1917, as well as other primary source material, Dr. Tyson will trace the historical trajectory, size, distribution and social characteristics of this important, but poorly researched, ethnic group that contributed so substantially to the cultural and genetic makeup of the Crucian population that Denmark sold to the United States in 1917 . Moving from the general to the particular, Dr. Tyson will conclude by recounting the life stories of several men and women in an effort to identify the last surviving African on St. Croix.
Throughout his presentation, Dr. Tyson will discuss the nature and challenges of the historical documentation upon which he has relied. The talk will be followed by a 20-minute discussion period. Dr. George F. Tyson is a leading authority on Virgin Islands history. A resident of St. Croix, he has taught at the University of the Virgin Islands, has served as Executive Director of the St. Croix Landmarks Society, President of the St. Thomas Historical Trust and President of the Society of Virgin Islands Historians. He has served as a consultant to UNESCO, the Organization of American States and the Virgin Islands National Park. Currently, he is the Director of the St. Croix African Roots Project, a collaboration of Danish and American scholars involved in digitizing and studying biographical and demographic records relating to St. Croix during the period of Danish rule. He has written and edited numerous scholarly publications.
The lecture will be held from 5:30-6:30 PM in the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse. The Christiansted National Historic Site parking lot will be open for this event until 7 pm.
The Friends of the St. Croix USVI National Parks will meet from 4:30-5:30 PM in the same location.