U.S. Virgin Islands – The American Folklife Center at the U.S. Library of Congress announced this week that Virgin Islands historian and culture bearer Myron D. Jackson is a recipient of the 2022-2023 Community Collections Grant for Individuals. The project – The Evolution of Folk Culture in the U.S. Virgin Islands aims to analyze historic neighborhoods on the island of St. Thomas and their connection to communities throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. The project will expand on Jackson’s 40 years of research and documentation of Virgin Islands folk history and culture. Jackson and his team will identify and interview individuals with generational ties in the Virgin Islands about community specific cultural practices and traditions such as birth, coming of age, marriage, and death – which serve as markers of cultural identity within communities. Jackson’s project was one of nine awarded from 80 applicants across the country.
“I am extremely grateful to receive this grant which will allow me to digitize my work of over 40 years as well as make connections to current practices in the Virgin Islands,” Jackson said. “It is very important to document, collect and preserve our collective memory, and our community history, culture and traditions. Through projects like this, we leave a legacy for future generations.”
The project begins this January 2023 and conclude in December 2023.
Of the People: Widening the Path is a multi-year initiative of The American Folklife Center that brings opportunities for local communities to work closely with the Library of Congress and to add their historical bodies of work to its collections aiming to tell a more inclusive and holistic American story. According to the Library of Congress, “the program aims to promote outreach in technology, innovation, and archives development for and by Black and Indigenous communities of color who are historically underrepresented in the United States and in the Library’s collection.”