The Virgin Islands of the United States (USVI), formally known as the Danish West Indies, was established on March 31, 1917, with the purchase of three (3) island territories, St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. Officially known as Transfer Day, the territory is enjoying the centennial (100) year commemoration. Ten (10) subsequent to Transfer Day, during 1927, inhabitants of the Virgin Islands were conferred statutory citizenship, by the United States Congress. Statutory citizenship precludes VI residents from voting for the president of the United States. The granting statutory citizenship precipitated a massive migration of Virgin Islanders to the all parts of the United States and New York City in particular. The migration to the states continued up to WWII, at which point there were few Virgin Islands men remaining.
From the outset, Virgin Islanders constituted a vanguard of gifted and talented individuals that were consequential as participants in the storied Harlem Renaissance. In addition, exceptional personalities such as, Casper Holstein, David Hamilton Jackson, Herbert Harrison and legions of other men and women advanced American society. In many areas, from professional sports to, social and political development, to philanthropy, Virgin Islanders continue to demonstrate excellence on the world stage. Moreover, during the Danish dispensation of the territory embodied a rich history of the African Diaspora relative to the procession of the trans-Atlantic trade of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and New World.
Without question many thousands of stateside residents born in the United States have ancestral roots in the Virgin Islands. The journey of learning who, and the when that your DNA was deposited in the Virgin Islands can be a profound and life altering experience. In addition, the wealth of information and knowledge of the Danish period along with meticulous records and documentation housed at WHIM Museum on the big island of St. Croix is riveting.
Introducing Virgin Islands Public Interest Research Group…