Memorials and monuments are part of every culture. In the territory they can be found within parks, at important sites, and within the townscape. They are erected to honor important figures, events, concepts, and other subjects. They are a form of public memory. They reflect the particularities of the time when they are erected, and the opinions of the people that erected them. Questions related to relevance of previously erected monuments have lead to debates over whether they should remain, be removed, or have plaques added to offer context. One such debate occurred in the territory in 2020, and resulted in the removal of a memorial.
In this activity, students will analyze monuments and memorials found in the US Virgin Islands and discuss where they are located and what they represent. The class will pretend they are on a Monument, Memorial and Statue Committee and discuss whether the monuments currently erected in the territory should stay in place, be removed or have historical context added. Students will read a legislative bill and use newspapers to research a memorial on St. Thomas that was removed in 2020. They will write an essay to share their opinion on the removal.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Monuments and Memorials in Public Spaces in the Territory