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Student Blogs: Experiencing Alexander Hamilton’s Hometown – St. Croix

TU students taking the interdisciplinary class “The Roots of Hamilton: Relics of Resistance in the Black Atlantic World” had the chance to travel to St. Croix. They were able to visit Alexander Hamilton’s boyhood home and see different sites of enslavement and freedom in the Caribbean. For each day of the trip, a student reflected on their experience in a blog. From walking through dungeons to snorkeling at Buck Island National Monument, follow their journey to better understand revolution through the eyes of Alexander Hamilton.

 

Day One & Two – Traveling to St. Croix

Sophomore organizational studies major Jenna K. Lazenby shares the tribulations of traveling, and the family-like feeling in Little Havana.

“This is something that I noticed throughout Little Havana; the restaurant felt like home, and you could really feel the history and community within the walls of this space.”

Read more here.

Day Three – Resistance is a Part of the Soil Here

Psychology major Kimberly Bartlett describes visiting historical sights: the old customs building, the street where Alexander Hamilton lived and worked as a clerk for importers.

“It should be accepted and acknowledged that we cannot fix the past, but we can create a better future. And, incredibly, it was then that I began to feel calm within this painful place.”

Read more here.

Day Four – Visiting The University of the Virgin Islands

Anthropology sophomore Kaitlyn Tidwell shares her experience at The University of the Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“While books may provide you with the knowledge, interacting with the residents and physical environment of St. Croix has given everyone a deeper connection with how life here has changed through time.”

Read more here.

Day Five – Visiting the Estate Whim Plantation

History senior John W. Turner learns about the lives of slaves and rebellion preventative measures at the Estate Whim Plantation in St. Croix.

“It is a magnificent resource for historians and archaeologists alike who have a passion for telling the stories of people who resisted the forces of slavery and white supremacy.”

Read more here.

Day Six – History Through Plants at the St. George Botanical Garden

Biochemistry freshman Brittney Willis learned what enslaved peoples cooked with and what they grew for healing at the St. George Botanical Garden.

“Seeing the plants grow on these grounds, as a way to reconnect to the past, showed me how the past can be reconciled with the present, and we can connect to it through different ways.”

Read more here. 

Day Seven – Attending the Friedensthal Moravian Church

Anthropology and pre-med sophomore Jade Johnson explains the differences in her experience at the Friedensthal Moravian Church in St. Croix and her church at home.

“In our class we have talked about how slaves responded to the religion that was forced upon them. There is evidence that they modified European religions to fit their own belief system instead of completely assimilating to them.”

Read more here. 

Day Eight – Experiences at Fort Frederik

Women’s and gender studies sophomore Cassandra Meador saw how canons were used to subdue slave rebellions at Fort Frederik.

“The memories the walls hold, both the brutality and the resistance that took place inside them and in the rest of St. Croix, will stay with me for forever and will be in my heart as I take what I’ve learned here and share it with my own community.”

Read more here. 

Day Nine – Maroon Ridge the Footsteps of the Ancestors

TU anthropology doctoral student Nkem Ike walked along Maroon Ridge where slaves often chose between death or continued enslavement.

“It made me see how there is no way the people of St. Croix are able to get away from the past even if they wanted to, but maybe they don’t want to.”

Read more here. 

Day Ten – Buck Island Reef National Monument

History senior Aileen Polanski shares how Hurricane Maria damaged the Buck Island Reef National Monument and devastated areas of St. Croix.

“The reef, in a way, was a metaphor for the island of St. Croix. Even after being hit by a category five hurricane, the reef and the island were still so full of life, proving that it takes more than a hurricane to keep them down.”

Read more here. 

Day Eleven – Reflections on St. Croix

Media studies junior Alexander Denard reflects on his travels in St. Croix from Maroon Ridge to the delicious food, but the people will remain strongest in his memory.

“The ancestors went through such dehumanizing treatment and horrors that now they treat each and every person with the respect that all humans deserve.”

Read more here.