Help Needed to Complete the Restoration of the Free-Colored Cemetery of Cruz Bay

Tucked away in a corner of Cruz Bay, between establishments reflecting modern life in this little island town, is the final resting place of six Free-Colored St. Johnians who died between 1820 and 1879. Although Cruz Bay’s Free-Colored Cemetery is incredibly significant for myriad reasons it had been all but forgotten until last month, when local residents joined forces with the St. John Historical Society (SJHS) and the VI Government to rescue this important site. During the time of Danish ownership of the United States Virgin Islands, then known as the Danish West Indies, there developed a Free-Colored population composed of individuals of African or Afro-Caribbean descent who, through birth, manumission or purchase, had achieved freedom from slavery prior to Emancipation in the colony in 1848. Cruz Bay has the distinction of being the only town in the Danish West Indies that was primarily settled and developed by Free-Colored artisans and tradespersons.

Click here to continue reading and view photos: Schoonover Cruz Bay Free-Colored Cemetery final

Society Staff

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