Virgin Islands Emancipation Day was celebrated on Sunday, July 3, 2016 at the Emancipation Garden between 10am – 2pm. Organized by the Emancipation Day Coalition, with a theme of, “Freedom Fighters Never Rest,” the gathering featured a variety of information and entertainment related to celebrating African and Virgin Islands culture and history.
A little history about the event…
On July 3, 1848, freed slave Moses Gottlieb, known as “General Buddhoe,” led the uprising that won freedom for all slaves in the territory. Buddhoe had organized slaves on St. Croix’s West End plantations to march on the town of Frederiksted.
Buddhoe’s efforts on the morning of July 3, 1848, were not immediately successful, but they were successful pretty quick. In the early morning, the thousands of slaves — led by Buddhoe — gathered at Fort Frederik, which served as background for the 2015 celebration. They delivered an ultimatum, demanding their freedom by noon, or they would burn the town down.
The military sent word of the situation to Gov. Gen. Peter von Scholten, who was in Christiansted. Von Scholten missed the deadline, and the crowd in Frederiksted tore down the whipping post and ransacked the judges’ and police offices.
Buddhoe extended the deadline and von Scholten arrived in Frederiksted later that afternoon. When he saw the rebellion, von Scholten declared all the slaves in the Danish West Indies free.
At that time, St. Croix was once one of the largest sugar cane producers in the world. The emancipation won in 1848, when the colony was under Danish rule, was decades before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in the United States.
From this VI Source Story