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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Robert Nicholls, associate professor of education at UVI and author of "Old-Time Masquerading in the U.S. Virgin Islands" has a recently published article, "The Mocko Jumbie of the U.S. Virgin Islands: History and Antecedents," in the fall 1999 edition of "African Arts." This prestigious scholarly journal is published quarterly by UCLA and has a wide national and international circulation.
Sixteen photographs, including two full-page color photographs, are included in the fourteen page magazine spread. Featured photos include those of Virgin Islands troupe "Moko Jumbie ‘n’ Fren Dem," as well as a 1990 photo of John McCleverty and Willard John.
Nicholls traces the history and development of the stilt masquerade in the U.S. Virgin Islands, starting with its first documentation in the Eastern Caribbean in St. Vincent in 1791. The article further explores possible forerunners to this masquerade in West Africa and to a now defunct ethnic designation "Moko," located in southeastern Nigeria. It concludes that the VI Mocko Jumbie seems to have more in common with examples from the Guinea Coast region–from Senegambia to Ivory Coast.
Nicholls, who received UVI's Faculty Recognition Award for Scholarship in 1999, showed slides and presented a paper on Virgin Island masquerades in a roundtable at the World Conference on Carnival III in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on October 23, 1999. Dr. Nicholls also made presentations throughout the territory in August. His research was sponsored by UVI's Division of Education and funded by the VI Humanities Council.
Nicholls’ book "Old-Time Masquerading in the U.S. Virgin Islands" is available through the UVI Bookstore and at Dockside Bookstore. For more information about the African Arts journal, please call (310) 825-1218.

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