Jan. 31, 2004 — As part of an initiative to focus attention on the historic heritage of St. Croix, Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards announced plans to highlight Alexander Hamiltons years on the island. Four of the nations leading Hamilton scholars will be arriving in St. Croix for a weekend of events on July 9, 10 and 11.
The initiative, entitled "Hamilton, His Formative Years," will be marked by a Hamilton exhibit at Fort Christiansvaern, walking tours, scholarly presentations, and other activities exploring the influence of Hamiltons St. Croix years on his moral, political and economic ideologies.
Alexander Hamilton came to St. Croix from Nevis at age 9 and remained until he was 17, when he was sent to attend college in New York by local benefactors who were impressed with his intelligence and ambition.
His time on St. Croix is one of the least studied aspects of his life, yet it is of great interest to historians. Hamilton, whose face graces the $10 bill, served as an aide to George Washington, was the nations first treasury secretary, founded the U.S. Coast Guard, and was a principal architect of the American system of government. The approach of the 200th anniversary of Hamiltons death this July has brought about a renewed interest in the life and times of Hamilton and his legacy.
The July program is sponsored by the Lieutenant Governors Office, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, University of the Virgin Islands, and U.S.V.I. Department of Tourism. Featured presenters will include Dr. Hal Bidlack of the Air Force Academy; Dr. Joanne Freeman of Yale University; Dr. Stephen Knott of the University of Virginia; and Richard Brookhiser, author of "Alexander Hamilton, American;" along with prominent local historians William Cissel of the National Park Service and Dr. Arnold Highfield of UVI. Activities will also include a Jump Up block party in downtown Christiansted and an essay contest for students.
"Exploring Hamiltons time on St. Croix is a way to draw attention to our rich history, which is of interest to visitors and also provides an educational opportunity for our students," Richards said. "The event will take an honest look at Hamiltons experiences here and will serve as a starting point for the creation of a permanent resource for historians, visitors, students and others interested in Hamiltons life on St. Croix. A key element of economic revitalization is a community-wide effort to enhance resources we already have, and at the forefront of these are our vibrant culture and history."
The lieutenant governor called for all private organizations and community members interested in assisting with this project to call his office at 773-6449.
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