Raising awareness and promoting African (Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American) Heritage on the University of the Virgin Islands campus and abroad
The University of the Virgin Islands “Black” Heritage Committee is a student-based organization charged with the responsibility of raising awareness and promoting African (Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American) Heritage on campus and abroad. According to Article VIII Section 11 letter F of the UVI SGA Constitution, the “Black” Heritage Committee shall be responsible for planning and implementing programs of “Black” Cultural awareness.
In 1986, the United States Congress named UVI one of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU); therefore, it holds the distinction of being the only HBCU outside of the continental United States. HBCUs are a source of accomplishment and great pride for the African American community as well as the entire nation.
The BHC serves as an integral part of the University’s effort to share with it’s students the rich culture of the Virgin Islands, Caribbean as well as African American and African history. A past Professor of the University and co-chair of the BHC, Gene Emanuel lead hundreds of students on historical and environmental nature tours while sharing stories of local historians who helped to influence global world leaders such as Edward Wilmot Blyden, Marcus Garvey, Dr. Ben and others.
The Virgin Islands has a number of people and things that makes it unique even today, but historically, many reasons exist that have paved the way for a ‘magical and healing experience’ to many that travel here, even if only for a day. For history lovers, here are a few facts:
- the first jurisdiction under the U.S. flag to be emancipated by slavery
- the first successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere on St. John in 1733
- the only state under the U.S. flag with the distinction of having over three quarters of the population of African ascendants
Created by DaraMonifah Cooper, BHC Advisor, this infographic shows a timeline of the University of the Virgin Islands Student Government Association “Black” Heritage Committee from her perspective as first an undergrad student member, then committee Chairperson and now Advisor once she graduated from the UVI Communications program. “It includes information, photos, flyers, videos and other things that I think will help to give a brief understanding of what I’ve seen the committee experience and how it has transformed over time,” DaraMonifah Cooper
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey