We Goin’ Go Bun

By Rosie Mackay

“All unfree in the Danish West Indies islands are from today free” declared by Governor Peter Von Scholten in Frederiksted, St. Croix, on July 3, 1848 was a declaration which came with conditions, known as the Labor Act.

30 years later, on St. Croix, tired of the conditions and the fact that they were not truly free, the African slave population took matters into their own hands, creating a “by any means necessary” exercise, a modern day phrase which reflected the mood of the time. On October 1, 1878, bells tolled, conch shells blew transmitting messages from one estate to the next, slaves refused to work, homes were demolished, and fires were set.

Essentially, this uprising, spearheaded by the now infamous Queens and other brave souls, would continue for 2 days, destroying 51 estates, leaving many dead in its wake, and memorialized the strength, sacrifices and determination of the Africans, transforming the status of the slaves. This uprising is now referred to, and spoken of, as “THE FIREBURN”. The Labor Act ceased and the all-consuming task of rebuilding lives ensued. It is still continuing.

Inspired by the mural on display in the Frederiksted Post Office which was painted by Nathaniel Mack ©1989, this 3 dimensional piece pictured here, was created by Rosie Mackay of Frederiksted, St. Croix, a fifth generation Crucian.

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