(FinalCall.com) – When the Virgin Islands’ Historical, Cultural and Tradition Foundation was looking for an Emancipation Day speaker they had certain requirements.

“We wanted to have someone talk about emancipation of the mind,” Pamela Richards, executive director of the foundation told The Final Call. “We’re through with the chains but we wanted the issues of mental slavery to be discussed.”

“There was only one man we felt could do this. There was only one fit, Minister Farrakhan, and it was a perfect fit.”


The Virgin Islands celebrated its 160th Emancipation Day July 3 with food, festivities and a message of inspiration from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“The people are still talking about it all over the island, the natives, the continentals and the Hispanics. Everyone found relevancy in what he said. People also commented that he was a very gracious man. They could see it coming through. It was just excellent,” said Ms. Richards.

This was the second time the Minister had been to the Virgin Islands in two months. In May he spoke at the St. Thomas celebration of African Liberation Day, where he addressed the Senate legislature in its chambers before a standing room only crowd.

“The world wonders, ‘Can we ever rise?’ The enemy has put us in such a terrible condition but they fear one thing; the presence of truth and someone unafraid to speak that truth regardless of the consequences even if that means your life. This world is built on truth,” the Minister said in May.

“Look in the mirror of truth and realize that we are not yet free,” he explained.

Many heard about that speech and didn’t want to miss him on Emancipation Day. Nearly 2,500 gathered on King Street at Buddhoe Park in Frederiksted, the same place where the slaves won freedom in 1848 from Denmark.

His message was on emancipation. “It means free from the hand, not necessarily from the control,” explained the Minister. “They freed us from their hands but not from their control.”

The Minister explained that Emancipation Day was special because of the many sacrifices made by people to be free.

“Without sacrifice, true freedom is a dream,” said Minister Farrakhan. “Sacrifice has to be made again to be free.”

 He explained that it’s difficult to make a sacrifice when your mind is enslaved. “Black people all over the world need to be made free,” he said. “Freedom is earned from self development.”

Minister Farrakhan encouraged the crowd to develop their own education, to grow their own food and to employ their own people by creating jobs.

“If someone else is supplying your education, food, jobs and housing they feel they have a right to dictate to you,” said the Minister. “Activists are needed again. If you don’t know your history, you will think you are really free.”

Gary Ritter, a businessman from the Virgin Islands, sees that control around the island. “For some reason the carryover from White rule still exists today even though the government is run by African Americans. The laws that they pass still favor White businesses and big corporations.

“The Minister said that you have tricked economic development and trickle down economic. Those at the bottom here are not getting the economic development and they feel tricked.”

He added, “The people in the Virgin Islands need to hear more speeches like this. It was positive and uplifting. It’s amazing that there was a larger crowd to look at the fireworks the next day than was there for Emancipation Day. The history of our Emancipation Day needs to be taught in school.”

Mario Morehead, a local historian and educator, introduced the Minister as the most powerful Black man in America. “What Black man could say, ‘I want a million Black men to meet me in D.C.’ and he could expect a million and a half to meet him there?” he asked.