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HomeNewsArchivesHonoring Another King: Territory Remembers Cyril E. King Tuesday

Honoring Another King: Territory Remembers Cyril E. King Tuesday

April 6, 2009 — On what would have been Cyril E. King's 88th birthday Tuesday, the territory is celebrating the accomplishments of the Virgin Islands' second elected governor, a man known for his warmth and compassion — as well as his remarkable leadership.
"April 7 each year is set aside to honor the outstanding public service of this great Virgin Islander, who has served as an appointed government secretary, as well as acting governor," said Gov. John deJongh Jr. in a statement Monday. "He was also elected senator in the St. Thomas-St. John district before he was elected governor."
Several events surround King's birthday this year. In proclaiming April 7 as Cyril E. King Day, deJongh has directed Education Commissioner La Verne Terry to ensure the territory's schools conduct ceremonies in honor of King, and that students receive information on King and his many contributions to the V.I. community.
On Sunday, King's daughter, Lillia, hosted a luncheon at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort to honor the memory of her father and mother, Agnes King, to raise funds for a museum, a permanent home for their memorabilia. The University of the Virgin Islands will house the museum. Sunday's luncheon was the first fundraiser, according to a release by Lillia King.
DeJongh recalled that King received numerous awards for his outstanding community service, including Commander First Class of the Order of the Danneborg and the Silver Bronze Cross by H.M. Queen Magarethe II of Denmark. He also received an honorary doctor of law degree from Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I., and a award from Hilbert College in Buffalo, N.Y., for humanitarian work.
"The St. Thomas airport was renamed in his honor," the governor noted.
King was born in Frederiksted, St. Croix, on April 7, 1921, to Martin and Melvina King. He received his early education at St. Ann's and St. Mary's schools. After high school, King enlisted in the military and then enrolled at American University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor's degree in public administration.
While in the Army, he attained the rank of sergeant and attended Army leadership school in New Orleans, La. After military service, King served for 12 years as assistant to Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota. He was the first black to serve on the staff of a U.S. senator.
King eventually became Humphrey's senior staff member responsible for research on disarmament for a special Senate subcommittee headed by the senator. In 1958 he represented the senator at the Disarmament Conference held by the Post-World War Council.
While employed with Humphrey, King kept close ties with the Virgin Islands. A strong supporter of youth initiatives, King helped organize the Youth Council on St. Croix.
President John F. Kennedy appointed King to serve as governor secretary of the Virgin Islands, later known as the elective post of lieutenant governor, with then-Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky. He served in that position from 1961 to 1969, when he was appointed acting governor for approximately four months.
In 1969, King announced his candidacy for governor and launched an aggressive campaign against Melvin Evans and Judge Alexander Farrelly. The election ushered in a new era for the territory, as it was the first time citizens of the Virgin Islands were able to vote for their own governor.
In the election, King received 5,422 votes, while Evans and Farrelly received 4,926 and 4,634 votes, respectively. In a subsequent runoff election, Evans emerged as the winner, becoming the first elected governor of the Virgin Islands.
In 1972, King ran for and got elected senator in the St. Thomas-St. John district. He served one term in the V.I. Legislature.
King ran for governor again in 1974. Three teams of candidates ran in that election, and King, along with running mate Juan Francisco Luis, won the seat in a runoff election, becoming the second elected governor of the territory.
King died Jan. 2, 1978, after a prolonged battle with cancer.
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April 6, 2009 -- On what would have been Cyril E. King's 88th birthday Tuesday, the territory is celebrating the accomplishments of the Virgin Islands' second elected governor, a man known for his warmth and compassion -- as well as his remarkable leadership.
"April 7 each year is set aside to honor the outstanding public service of this great Virgin Islander, who has served as an appointed government secretary, as well as acting governor," said Gov. John deJongh Jr. in a statement Monday. "He was also elected senator in the St. Thomas-St. John district before he was elected governor."
Several events surround King's birthday this year. In proclaiming April 7 as Cyril E. King Day, deJongh has directed Education Commissioner La Verne Terry to ensure the territory's schools conduct ceremonies in honor of King, and that students receive information on King and his many contributions to the V.I. community.
On Sunday, King's daughter, Lillia, hosted a luncheon at Marriott's Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort to honor the memory of her father and mother, Agnes King, to raise funds for a museum, a permanent home for their memorabilia. The University of the Virgin Islands will house the museum. Sunday's luncheon was the first fundraiser, according to a release by Lillia King.
DeJongh recalled that King received numerous awards for his outstanding community service, including Commander First Class of the Order of the Danneborg and the Silver Bronze Cross by H.M. Queen Magarethe II of Denmark. He also received an honorary doctor of law degree from Roger Williams College in Bristol, R.I., and a award from Hilbert College in Buffalo, N.Y., for humanitarian work.
"The St. Thomas airport was renamed in his honor," the governor noted.
King was born in Frederiksted, St. Croix, on April 7, 1921, to Martin and Melvina King. He received his early education at St. Ann's and St. Mary's schools. After high school, King enlisted in the military and then enrolled at American University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a bachelor's degree in public administration.
While in the Army, he attained the rank of sergeant and attended Army leadership school in New Orleans, La. After military service, King served for 12 years as assistant to Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota. He was the first black to serve on the staff of a U.S. senator.
King eventually became Humphrey's senior staff member responsible for research on disarmament for a special Senate subcommittee headed by the senator. In 1958 he represented the senator at the Disarmament Conference held by the Post-World War Council.
While employed with Humphrey, King kept close ties with the Virgin Islands. A strong supporter of youth initiatives, King helped organize the Youth Council on St. Croix.
President John F. Kennedy appointed King to serve as governor secretary of the Virgin Islands, later known as the elective post of lieutenant governor, with then-Gov. Ralph Paiewonsky. He served in that position from 1961 to 1969, when he was appointed acting governor for approximately four months.
In 1969, King announced his candidacy for governor and launched an aggressive campaign against Melvin Evans and Judge Alexander Farrelly. The election ushered in a new era for the territory, as it was the first time citizens of the Virgin Islands were able to vote for their own governor.
In the election, King received 5,422 votes, while Evans and Farrelly received 4,926 and 4,634 votes, respectively. In a subsequent runoff election, Evans emerged as the winner, becoming the first elected governor of the Virgin Islands.
In 1972, King ran for and got elected senator in the St. Thomas-St. John district. He served one term in the V.I. Legislature.
King ran for governor again in 1974. Three teams of candidates ran in that election, and King, along with running mate Juan Francisco Luis, won the seat in a runoff election, becoming the second elected governor of the territory.
King died Jan. 2, 1978, after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.