July 3 Emancipation Day Festivities Celebrate Historical Significance of St. John Revolution

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Under the direction of Mr. Jones, the Flambeau Combo from the Boschulte Middle School performed during the Emancipation Day events on July 3, in Franklin Powell Sr. Park.

CRUZ BAY — Franklin Powell Sr. Park in Cruz Bay was the focus of reverent historical remembrances Thursday, July 3, 2014, for the St. John Emancipation Day festivities with the appropriate insistence on historical accuracy.

Interspersed with musical entertainment from Flambeau Combo and the Bertha Boschulte Quelbe, St. Johnian Emmanuel “Mano” Boyd blew the ceremonial conch shell horn; Marcella presented an “Emancipation Dance;” and the St. John a capella group N’Harmony provided musical selections.

Drawing a contrast with the official proclamation of the event issued by Governor John P. deJongh, St. Johnian historian and scholar Dr. Gilbert Sprauve set the tone for the solemn event by reminding the festive crowd of the true historic nature of the event.

Celebrating the 166th year since chattel slavery was abolished in the Danish West Indies, Dr. Sprauve reminded the audience which filled the vendor’s village set up for the July 4 festivities of the historical significance of the St. John rebellion.

 The St. John uprising was a “revolution” not a “revolt,” Dr. Sprauve distinguished, with the leaders of the uprising setting up a government for six months.

Following an open mic forum on Emancipation and Independence, the festivities concluded with a torchlight procession led by Pan-Round-De-Neck.

Politicians were kept to a limited participation in the event with the first eight candidates responding and limited to a 5-minute presentation.