Ancestors in my step!

St. Croix, YUH LARGE! Open this up for a quick Virgin Islands History lesson.




The year was 1878 and the people were FED TF UP! Who was fed up you might ask? Well, the "freed slaves" of St. Croix who were underpaid, undervalued and disrespected by their employers better known as their former owners.


Much like in the United States, many freed slaves worked for plantation owners who once owned slaves as a way of sustaining themselves post slavery. Cool right? WRONG! They couldn't sustain themselves because they weren't paid fair wages. Hmm, this sounds very familiar but I digress.


Well, Contract Day - basically the day when everyone got to shoot their shots and renegotiate their wages was approaching and the workers were excited. They were hearing rumors about wages increasing and their spirits and hopes were lifted. Sounds kinda like folks waiting on that second round of stimulus checks huh?


Anyway, today's the day - Contract Day; October 1, 1878 and the laborers are ready for change. Just to add some context, Slavery was abolished in the Danish Virgin Islands (currently United States Virgin Islands) THIRTY YEARS prior as a result of a revolt that took place in St. Croix because news had gotten out that the slaves next door in the British Virgin Islands were recently freed.




So here we are, 30 years "post slavery" and nothing really feels different. Laborers could barely feed their families and their "employers" are living lavish by making huge profits off of them.


In true goddess fashion, three black women - Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Matilda came together and decided to take matters into their own hands. It was obvious that the only way to get your just due at that time was to take it right? I mean, In July 1848 some black men on the same island realized that the slaves outnumbered the owners significantly so they revolted. That was effective because they got what they demanded - freedom. The queens realized that so they empowered their community to do the same.


The community came together, they marched, they wreaked havoc and they stuck together while doing it.


Over 50 plantations, stores and homes were destroyed in the process which is a big amount for that area of such a small island. The queens were obviously executed but they knew that was a possibility and they took the risk anyway. What a sacrifice to make for what's right.


I recently heard from a spiritual leader that the best ways to honor your ancestors are to love/raise your children effectively, utilize your gifts & talents and pour into your community.


Share this story with your children. Make time for yourself to sharpen your skills so you can monetize them; That way you're able to start planting the seeds to create generational wealth. Pour into your community by helping those that have less than you. Build trust in your neighbors and find ways to support each other. One of the most effective ways you can pour into your community is by voting and making sure to participate in the census.


The queens of the Fyah Bun (Fire Burn) deserve for every single one of us to honor them and carry out their legacies.


I understand that there may be some missing information from this story, so fellow Virgin Islanders, I ask that you kindly suggest any changes that need to be made so that I can ensure that the most accurate information is made available to those who weren't fortunate enough to be raised with these stories.


love always,

Deidre







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© 2019 By Deidre Ritter.