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interesting 1920s view of the USVI

 
lc98
 lc98
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Do a Google search for "in and about our Virgin Islands" and click on the first link. This will take you to a Google Books preview of the same-titled chapter, from the book Roaming Through the West Indies by Harry A. Franck, published in 1920.

Written by a white American man, the content and language are extremely racist. Nonetheless, it offers an interesting look at some firsthand details of island life at around the time of the original Transfer Day that I have not seen presented elsewhere.

I would love to see a VI native's account of events from the same era.

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Topic starter Posted : July 30, 2009 2:23 pm
stiphy
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My Google search didn't yield that result but here is a link to the PDF of the book (it must be public domain):

http://ia340942.us.archive.org/3/items/roamingthroughwe00franuoft/roamingthroughwe00franuoft.pdf

Sean

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Posted : July 30, 2009 3:44 pm
lc98
 lc98
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Thanks, Sean! Sorry; I couldn't figure out a way to link to the correct portion of the preview -- I thought the search would work.

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Topic starter Posted : July 30, 2009 5:32 pm
stiphy
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NP, thanks for the link...going to convert it and put it on the wife's Kindle as it looks like a fascinating read!

Sean

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Posted : July 30, 2009 5:51 pm
Jules
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Thanks for the heads-up on this old book. I read the chapter on the USVI. Absolutely fascinating!

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Posted : July 30, 2009 9:19 pm
AllMashUp
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I found it amazing that our population has increased so little in the past 90 years, and that St. Croix's roads used to be in better condition than most stateside!

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Posted : July 30, 2009 10:19 pm
lc98
 lc98
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Yes, to clarify, the relevant chapter is called "In and About Our Virgin Islands" -- sorry my linking attempt didn't work.

It's funny how certain things seem to have stayed the same, in addition to all the contrasts. Also, I never really put two and two together before that transfer happened during Prohibition -- overnight, the entire rum business suddenly became illegal.

To me, learning the history of a place is such an important part of living somewhere. http://www.stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/ has been my reading material for a little while now -- they have a great article on the grammatical rules of creole; http://www.stjohnhistoricalsociety.org/Articles/EnglishCreole.htm. I had no idea that on tiny St. John it was possible to have dialects from different neighborhoods! Way cool.

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Topic starter Posted : July 31, 2009 1:57 am
DUN
 DUN
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<img class="go2wpf-bbcode" src="http://">

I have it!
I put the vimovingcenter in the background so you know it`s authentic!

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Posted : July 31, 2009 3:17 am
A Davis
(@A_Davis)
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thanks fdr sharing your historical journey. whenever i go someplace i always like to learn about its history, or i feel as though i have not even been there. i'd like to think that if people know more about the places that they choose as their homes, they have greater respect for the natural and historic resources, and most of all, the people they meet who are already there.

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Posted : July 31, 2009 8:46 am
Jim Dandy
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After reading the section on the VI it is hard to be optimistic about our islands future. So little has changed for the better in the past ninety years.

Jim

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Posted : July 31, 2009 5:31 pm
DUN
 DUN
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Regarding The Virgin Islands from page 306 of "Roaming through the west indies:
That loose -kneed stroll of the Virgin-Islander is typical of all his processes, mental, moral, or physical,It is not merely slow, rhythmical,and dignified;there is in it a suggestion of limitless wealth, an un-troubled conscience,and an ancestry devoted to leisurely pursuits for untold generations. In local parlance a "five Minutes' walk"means a block.

One must not speak hastily to a native, for thew only result is wasted breath & the necessity of repeating the question in more measured cadences.....
but any attempt, courteous or otherwise, to hurry the Virgin Islander brings a sullen resentment which you will never succeed in smiling away.
As the navy men who were governing him put it in the technical vernacular of their calling, he has only two speeds,-Slow Ahead" and "Stop"
Once the visitor has shaken off the no doubt ridiculous notion that things should be done in a hurry, or done at all, for that matter, he will find our newly adapted children an amusing addition to the family.

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Posted : July 31, 2009 11:13 pm
Uttica
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Reading Jim Dandy's post was depressing, but reading DUN's post hit home.

Can't speak for STT, but "he has only two speeds,-Slow Ahead" and "Stop"" pretty much sums up St. Croix, weather it's 1920 or 2009.

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Posted : August 1, 2009 2:02 am
Uttica
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Oops "weather" = "whether".

Even I can succumb to the VI's blissfulness.

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Posted : August 1, 2009 2:57 am
Exit Zero
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In the 1920's and still today I doubt the phrase about ---" an ancestry devoted to leisurely pursuits for untold generations " -- was based on facts or any research into a Virgin Islanders ancestry.

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Posted : August 1, 2009 3:21 am
Jules
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Exit Zero, I thought the author meant "...an ancestry devoted to leisurely..." as sarcasm.

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Posted : August 1, 2009 9:21 am
lc98
 lc98
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Yes, I think he was using "untold" as hyperbole, rather than as a statement of fact, since the Danes had abolished slavery only 70-some years earlier. (I suspect the author's view of VI natives as lesser human beings probably led to this carelessness in language.)

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Topic starter Posted : August 1, 2009 12:45 pm
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