Repeated “Enslaved African” References Decried; Historian Pishko Responds

Mr. Pishko,

Are you capable of writing articles about the history of St. John without using the term “enslaved Africans” at least once in each and every paragraph you came up with?

MaLinda, is this your doing? What for? It’s not like we all aren’t well aware of how Americans of African decent on St. John made their way to the island for God’s sake.

My family’s history is such that my great-grandfather and grandmother weren’t even allowed to own land in the country they were born and lived all their lives, nor were they allowed to have last names. Those “privileges” were granted by the German barons and counts who were the landowners living in Eastern Europe from the country where my forefathers came form, but Latvians have long since gotten over that bit of indentured servitude of a form.

Are you trying to separate and divide St. Johnians merely by the color of their skin into victims and oppressors? I certainly hope not. That’s not the St. John I want to see, and let’s not be divisive — the ultimate result this article clearly attempts to achieve.  

Instead, let’s follow another path, one already blazoned by Dr. Martin Luther King, who when asked in an interview many years ago how he wanted to be remembered after he was gone from this earth, simply said: “I don’t want to be remembered as an African-American, or a Negro, but simply as an American.”
Eric Laimins Jr.

Response: The history of the Caribbean plantation slavery is enmeshed with all other aspects of the European involvement in the Caribbean. You can’t talk about one without the other. As painful as it might be, the story needs to be told.

– Chuck Pishko