Do you know the story of the statue in Cruz Bay of the man blowing a conch shell? One of several “Freedom Statues” on display throughout the territory, they commemorate the slave revolt and fight for emancipation.
2017 marked 100 years since the US purchased territories in the West Indies (known as the US Virgin Islands) for $25 million from Denmark. Commemorative events were held in the USVI as well as Denmark, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated historians.
Back in 1998, Walter G. Brunner of St. Croix, an art collector and political consultant to former governor Roy L. Schneider, commissioned artist Bright Bimpong to create copies of the original statues. Walter’s sister, who inherited the statues, generously donated them to the St. John Historical Society, who raised enough money to ship them to Denmark in time to commemorate the centennial celebration on Danish soil – a momentous occasion.
Because in the late 19th century, slave labor on the sugar plantations primarily fueled the Denmark economy and established huge family estates. Having long erased these events from history, Denmark is now embracing past events and their historical significance.
A total of three bronze statues of leaders of the fight towards emancipation were gifted to Denmark for the 2017 celebration. The gifts made headlines in Denmark, as the statues toured the country before making a final landing in Copenhagen.
“A gift is a really powerful thing when you give it without strings attached, with no politicians involved,” said Knight. “It comes from the heart, and the acceptance they have gotten in Denmark is a huge thing.”
The statue of freedom in Cruz Bay is one of many historical sights you can see while visiting St. John US Virgin Islands. Book your St. John vacation rental with Windspree and our concierge team can put together an historical tour for your group. Stay in Estate Fortsberg and be in the same location of the slave revolt of 1733.
Interested in booking St. John Virgin Islands rentals? The best resource is Windspree Vacation Homes, renting Virgin Islands vacation rentals for over 30 years. Book your St. John vacation rental from people who live on St. John and know the island best! For more information on Virgin Islands rentals and St. John USVI rentals, checkout Windspree.com and call or text (340)201-3002.