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HomeNewsArchivesTwo-Week Celebration Scheduled for 159th Emancipation Day

Two-Week Celebration Scheduled for 159th Emancipation Day

June 23, 2007 – History, Culture and Tradition Foundation, Inc. president Mary L. Moorhead said Emancipation Day has the highest significance of all the holidays celebrated in the Virgin Islands. The foundation is sponsoring two weeks of activities leading up to the 159th Emancipation Day Celebration.
"Our entire history could have taken on an entirely different direction if not for the uprising in 1848.” However, Moorhead said, the general community does not treat Emancipation with the respect it deserves, and that comes from lack of knowledge. She hopes the activities and reenactments scheduled will emphasize and illustrate the day's importance in V.I. history.
The Emancipation Day celebration will seek to reenact what is said to have been the turning point in the history of the Danish West Indies, the slave rebellion of 1848. That revolt was lead by Moses "Gen. Buddhoe" Gottleib.
Buddhoe was an enslaved African who could travel from plantation to plantation. He was a master sugar boiler and was hired out to virtually every sugar plantation on St. Croix. Buddhoe could read and write and was knowledgeable in world affairs. He used his skill and knowledge to organize enslaved Africans in demanding their freedom.
Prompted by the takeover of Fort Frederik, the military stronghold in St. Croix, and threats by the enslaved Africans to "burn down the town of Frederiksted," Gov. General Peter Von Scholten reluctantly made the proclamation "from this day onward all unfree in the Danish West Indies are free."
The events of July 3, 1848, ushered in a new era between the black working class and the Danish crown. The proclamation freed not only the blacks in Frederiksted, which was the capital of the Danish West Indies, but also the nearly 3,000 enslaved Africans throughout the entire Danish West Indies, including St. Thomas and St. John.
Here is the schedule for the Emancipation Day activities:
— Saturday, June 23, 10 a.m.
Emancipation Panel discussions led by the Society of V.I. Historians
Location: The Frits E. Lawaetz Conference Room, St. Croix Legislative Building, Frederiksted
— Saturday, June 30, 1 p.m.
Emancipation Donkey Races hosted by the Gentlemen of Jones
Location: Paul Joseph Stadium, Frederiksted
— Sunday, July 1, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Emancipation Photo Exhibit hosted by the V.I. Council of the Arts
Location: Fort Frederik Museum
— Monday, July 2, 7 p.m.
Emancipation Tea Meeting hosted by the V.I. Department of Tourism
Location: Custom Square, Frederiksted
— Tuesday, July 3
1 p.m. Emancipation Reenactment Program featuring Caribbean Dance Co. and
Historian Mario Moorhead
4 p.m. Cultural Performances
8 p.m. to midnight Emancipation Day Street Quadrille Dance music by Native Rhythm Band with Caller, Curtis Williams
All activities on July 3 will take place in Customs Square, Frederiksted.
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