National Geographic : 1968 Jan
Those planter families that escaped retired to Caneel Bay, then the estate of a planter named Peter Duerloo. Ruins of buildings in which they made their stand can still be seen near Caneel Bay Plantation. There the men manned two cannons and fended off the attack, while their women and children were put in boats for St. Thomas. Later the planters had to abandon the island, and for six months the slaves held it. It took French soldiers from Martinique to quell the uprising. Local legends fail to agree on the final tragic ending. One version holds that the surviving slave leaders sat in a circle on Mary Point, near Annaberg Sugar Mill, which had been their last stronghold, and each shot the man next to him. Another legend says they leaped to their deaths on the rocks below. Although many of the estates were rebuilt, the island never fully recovered. Then, after Denmark abolished slavery in 1848, fields and great houses were gradually abandoned and the tropic jungle crept back over all. How time and understanding can heal the scars that are a heritage of slavery I learned from a native St. Johnian, Noble Samuel. We were on our way from Caneel Bay to Anna berg, bouncing along in a jeep over a road still formed in part by stones laid in slave days. We spoke of slavery and then of present day race relations in a territory where more than half the population is Negro. Noble gave me the simple reason for his own serenity about the problem. "Everything adds up to a four-letter word-love," he said. Former Dropout Now Leads Others To judge by his successful career, the phi losophy works for him. Noble had been a seventh-grade school dropout. After working as a laborer, he became a lifeguard at Trunk Bay. Unable to answer children's questions about shells, he went to night school, finally taking courses in marine biology. Today he is a National Park Service guide. We explored Annaberg and the ruins of its old sugar mill. Now part of the national park, the hilltop site overlooks Leinster Bay, and as .s. Puzzled sixth grader queries his teacher at St. Dunstan's Episcopal School in Christiansted. Students seek ing higher education traditionally go to universities on the U. S. mainland. The College of the Virgin Islands, a two year school on St. Thomas, hopes even tually to offer a four-year curriculum. Deft fingers of John Dyer (top) as semble a timepiece in the St. Croix plant of a Bulova Watch Company subsidiary. Last year the island shipped nearly 4,000,000 watches to the United States, its sole market. Stage star turned handyman, Victor Borge tunes the piano in his villa at Christiansted. Practically a commuter, the Danish-born entertainer regularly escapes the pressures of mainland liv ing by jetting nonstop from New York City to his St. Croix retreat. Unfettered imagination wedded to tropical hues identifies the custom fab rics of English-born silk-screen artist Jim Tillett; he hand-prints some 20,000 yards a year in his workshop at Tutu, a village on St. Thomas. His painting depicts New York skyscrapers top pling under atomic attack.