Has anyone read The Kamina Folk: Slavery and Slave Life in the Danish West Indies, edited by George F. Tyson and Arnold R. Highfield? It's very interesting and, yes, very gross in places-whippings, torture, suicide, etc. It includes about 20 essays, letters, and other writings by Danes, Frenchmen, Americans, and others who observed slave life.
One essay describes a slave mutiny aboard a Dutch ship in a Guinea harbor about to sail for the West Indies. The slaves overpowered and killed all the Europeans but one boy. The Europeans managed to fire some warning shots before they died, and armed free blacks on the shore arrived at the scene in canoes. The slaves knew they would be recaptured, so one of them ran into the powder room with a firebrand and blew up the ship. The men in the canoes managed to fish about 30 survivors out of the water, but all the rest, about 500, drown.
The are good accounts of the 1733-1734 St. John rebellion and the 1759 St. Croix rebellion. This is definitely a book to have if you like Caribbean history.
Thanks for the tip! Now that I'm here, and have no cable =), I'm very interested in learning more about the history of the island. I'm also reading a lot of "island' books - not so much related to the VI, but related to the Caribbean - like Jimmy Buffetts books and Don't Stop the Carnival. This book you've recommended sounds really interesting. Does anyone have anymore suggestions? Without a TV set up yet, I've become an avid reader!
The Virgin Island Humanities Council puts out the book mentioned as well as numerous others; visit them at
for descriptions of some of the other titles they have.
Janelle: "Don't Stop the Carnival" was written after Herman Wouk spent time in St Thomas! If you go to Dockside Books, you will find a big section on the Caribbean. A few of my favorites are: " A History of the Virgin Islands of the United States," by Isaac Dookhan, "Night of the Silent Drums," by John Lorenzo Anderson (really a historical novel), "The Umbilical Cord," by Harold W. L. Willocks (an Afrocentric history) and "Disaster and Disruption in 1867: Hurricane, Earthquake and Tsunami in the Danish West Indies," compiled by Roy Watlington and Shirley Lincoln...but there are a lot more! 😉
For those of you on St. Croix, you can come to the library at UVI and get a community user card (I think) and then you'll have access to an entire roomful of books, magazines, and pamphlets on Caribbean history and literature. Just ask for me (Eva) when you get here. I normally work M-F from 10 am to 7 or 8 pm.
Thank you Eva - I was wondering how difficult or easy it would be to obtain a library card -- thank you so much for the information, K
Kelly's suggestion is great. Not a topic that comes up often. UVI library does have a community user card; you pay a small one time fee... I think it is $30... you can only take out a couple books at a time. The Caribbean Collection at the St. Thomas campus is a special collections - special collections are use at the library only, you can't check them out and to access the special collections you must have a library card.
There are also public libraries on the islands; Florence Williams Public Library, Athalie Petersen Public Library and Sunny Isle Public Library on St. Croix; Elaine Sprauve Public Library in St. John and the Enid Baa Public Library on STT