July 3, 2022 — Walking from Christiansted to Frederiksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands is no easy feat, but this USVI July 3rd tradition is more than a physical challenge — it’s a symbol of the resilience that led to freedom.
The annual Emancipation Day Fort-to-Fort “Walk to Freedom” retraces the steps of 9,000 enslaved Africans who marched from Christiansted to Frederiksted on July 3, 1848 to demand their freedom from the Danish government.
The 15.6-mile trek started just before dawn on Sunday, July 3 at Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted and took participants down the Queen Mary Highway to a finish at Fort Frederik in Frederiksted. The walk began and ended with rattling the chains barring the entrance of each fort — another symbolic act that signifies breaking free from bondage. Along the way, a live DJ helped keep spirits high with popular Caribbean and African music. VI Agriculture Commissioner Terrence “Positive” Nelson, the event’s coordinator, also brought high-energy commentary along the way.
There were sore muscles and a few blisters at the end, but we consider it a privilege to have walked beside a new generation of resilient Virgin Islanders. Cheers to 174 years of freedom in the USVI!