7 Years Later: Realities of VI Emancipation
July 3rd, 1848 marks the day in Caribbean/American/World history that enslaved AfRaKans of the then Danish West Indies were declared as “Free” by Danish appointed Governor Von Scholten during a time of many emancipation declarations during the decline of the profits generated by multiple institutions and societies of enslaved AfRaKans globally. Annual commemorations, re-enactments and ceremonial observances are shared in the now Virgin Islands of the USA that is still a non-incorporated non-self governing territory of the USA in 2012 irrespective of the United Nations multiple declarations, resolutions, directives and beyond for either free association, statehood or independence. Documents to review include yet are not limited to the following:
Request a link to additional historical details via email@example.com and place “VI Emancipation Realities” in the subject line. Special broadcasts on www.blogtalkradio.com/perankhlive especially surrounding July 3rd of every year!
The Pan African Diaspora Union endorses July 3rd as the Pan African Day of the Drum-initiated for, by and with people of African ascent, heritage, ancestry and tradition in a respectful manner without man-made or man-induced egoism in the mix of it- in commemoration with PanAfrican and African cultural tradition supports of emancipation, self-determination, freedom, independence and other liberating, unifying and organizing efforts honored during this time of historic change impacting the African World and Humanity. http://www.paduinternational.com/padu_news.htm Note: This is a global commemoration/holiday that is not owned or copyrighted by anyone as it is for the best interests of African people and A Nu Humanity. Here in the Virgin Islands, our community organizations gather on July 3rd annually to commemorate African Emancipation Day/VI Emancipation Day so it is a natural fit for PADD to be honored and celebrated on this same day in concert with other global PanAfrican observances beyond the declarations, resolutions and directives of the UN, AU or other political and/or non-political entities.
Here is a version of an editorial shared in the VI media for July 3rd, 2005- seven years ago- we still have more work to do collectively, collaboratively, cohesively and cooperatively. May we Heal, Organize, Unite, Liberate and Ascend!
Shem M Htp
NswtMwt Dr. ChenziRa of PerAnkhKhamniversity
July 1st, 2005 (St. Martin Emancipation Day on July 1st.1848)
Realities of Virgin Islands Emancipation in 2005
Shared through A’but NbtMut Dr. ChenziRa Kahina, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Per Ankh, Inc. (House of Life) –Dr. ChenziRa Kahina (www.perankhu.org email to firstname.lastname@example.org )
In the US Virgin Islands, July 3rd, 2005 commemorates the 157th anniversary of the verbal declaration of the “freedom” of enslaved Afrakans of the Danish West Indies. Emancipation, reparations, repatriation and genuine national liberation are interwoven components that people of Afrakan ascent need to explore spiritually, culturally, economically, historically, educational and socially. It is time for emancipation to truly be manifest and for genuine humanity to be resurrected—globally.
Afrakans in Afraka and throughout the Diaspora are still experiencing harsh, horrific and multigenerational aftereffects of the Tri-continental enslavement experience. As the VI celebrates Emancipation Day for the enslaved Afrakans, the global community is engaged in protests to “Make Poverty History” with an emphasis on addressing the inhumane and genocidal conditions in the Afrakan continent. (Check www.theonecampaign.org ) Emancipated people remain engaged in emancipating and liberating actions that promote life and unity.
Celebrating and commemorating emancipation is important; however, living as an emancipated person, community and nation is more significant and sacred. As our community commemorates this historic declaration, we need to take time to reflect and take a serious & hard look at the realities of our “emancipated” community that is desperately in need of a living resurrection for us to genuinely live free. The fact that we are still referred to as the United States Virgin Islands represents the reality of the falseness associated with our emancipation. Collectively, Virgin Islanders are still in search of a cultural identity, reaffirmation of status with the sovereign nation (USA) and maintenance of zero tolerance towards the ills that are destroying the quality of life of our community—amongst natives, contributing residents & proactive visitors. May we gather collaborative support through initiatives like the African Diasporic Civil Society Network, the Global African Congress & other proactive organizational bodies to make our lives more emancipated.
The emancipation of the Virgin Islands was a situation forced by economic strains that the enslavement industry imposed upon the elitist ruling planter class for many decades. It was not done with any humanitarian interest at the heart of this transformation from chattel/physical slavery into mental/systemic slavery. In a 1988 presentation entitled African Resistance & Colonial Domination: The Africans in the Americas, international historian, scholar and sacred ancestor—Dr. John Henrik Clarke stated:
“Throughout the Americas they had major revolts in the first half of the 19th century and the African people were not liberated nor given any freedom. The British emancipation of the West Indies was a fake and the emancipation of the Africans in the United States was also a fake, so there is no point in saying that the slaves outside of the United States were emancipated 35 years before those in the United States because none of them were really emancipated and they are still to some extent slaves. By emancipation, slavery was transformed, not eliminated.
I am saying there is still something we have to fight against. Our brothers and sisters in South America and in the Caribbean and in the United States stood up against the slave system in this hemisphere while our African brothers and sisters were fighting a hundred year war against colonialism. The calibre of the men, the calibre of their courage and the calibre of their character stands well in the history of the world and in the history of struggle of any people at any time in history. If we have to change tomorrow we are going to have to look back in order to look forward. We will have to look back with some courage, warm our hands on the revolutionary fires of those who came before us, and understand that we have within ourselves, nationally and internationally, the ability to regain what we have lost and to build a new humanity for ourselves, first and foremost, and for the whole world ultimately. To do this we must extend the concept of Pan-Africanism beyond its original base to a concept of a world union of all African people, the African in Africa, the African in the Caribbean, the African in South America, the African in the Pacific Islands and, especially the African throughout the world who has yet to realize that he is African too.”
Many within our VI community and globally ignore or neglect to respect the significance of this ancestral and historic milestone that led to the partial emancipation of people of Afrakan ascent in the Caribbean. July 3rd is shadowed by July 4th (the 229th anniversary of America’s Independence Day) and these two historic days share a powerful cultural link as it relates to freedom, liberty, justice and humanism. Perhaps we may revisit the words shared in a speech given by the Honorable Frederick Douglass entitled “What does the 4th of July mean to a slave?” Many people forget the traditional Adrinka symbol that means: “The Creator’s time is the best time.” It is clearly time for emancipation to be lived & practiced and not simply celebrated as a false holiday or another cultural talent show.
The culture, traditions and folklore of our community along with our practicing cultural bearers amongst us are dying and often being disrespectfully ignored due to many traits, behaviors and remnants remaining from our Afrakan enslavement experiences. In Spiritual Warriors are Healers, international scholar, author & practitioner Mfundishi Djheuti Mes Hasan Salim states that in Kiswahili the term “Maafa” means “the great disaster” while the “Maangamizi” means “the conscious & deliberate great genocidal disaster imposed upon people of Afrakan ancestry”. May we transform these traumatic experiences upward into “Maat” as truth, reciprocity, balance, harmony, sobriety, propriety & righteousness. While many celebrate emancipation festivities the tone shared amongst some is full of disrespect, degradation and ignorance hurled at many that respect the sacred and spiritual foundations of the genuine meaning of being emancipated and the responsibilities associated with that—because “when your own lice bite you, it bite you de hardest.”
Our community needs to heal many current, ancient and ancestral wounds that are affecting our genuine emancipation. Our cultural identity is important. Our national consciousness is important. Our respect for one another irrespective of our differences is important. Why are able to speak of diversity and multiculturalism for everyone else except anything with Afrakan foundations? Anyone who desires to know more just needs to observe and listen to the ancestral voices that travel in our trade winds during this time of year—every year—and you will hear while bearing witness to the truth of what is going on. Emancipation is not just belief; it is to know when to humble and pray for guided actions for sacred transformation from our Mother Father of Creation—by whichever sacred name one uses—to genuinely “let our divine ancestors speak!
May we be truly emancipated, liberated and gather our reparative resources for the betterment of our community, nation and humanity! May this July 3rd be a blessed Emancipation Day Commemoration and be extended throughout our global community for years to come…