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The Saber

RNE News

The Saber

RNE News

The Saber

Black History Month: Virgin Islands Edition

“I’ve been looking for family history for a long time,” Elton Vrede, a teacher from U.S. Virgin Islands, said.

As part of the BHM speakers series, Elton Vrede spoke about his Caribbean genealogy to Mrs. Sweatman’s class.

Vrede’s parents came from New York but migrated to the Viqeures part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. At birth, Vrede’s parents separated and, his grandfather stepped in.

“My grandfather stepped in …” he said, “he started being a role model for me as a man.”

During Vrede’s middle school years, his grandfather died.

To memorize his grandfather, Vrede started exploring around his family tree.

“We ain’t going to let my father fade in time,” he stated.

Through various genealogy kits and old documents, he discovered his great-great-grandmother, Alice Drummond. Alice Drummond was born a slave in 1859 in the Saint Thomas area of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Randall Drummond, Vrede’s great-great-grandfather, was born in 1810 on St.Croix.

Another one of his ancestors, Viktor Daniel, came from Sanit Thomas. Later, he migrated to the U.S.A. to the Tuskegee Institute. In 1911, Daniel graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. Booker T. Washington hired Daniel to become an instructor at Tuskegee Insitute.

Viktor Daniel’s wife, Constance Daniel, was friends with Mary Mcleod Bethune. She became a teacher for Spelman College and the National Congress of Negro Women.

To record Lowcountry South Carolina history, Vrede wrote “Ancestors and Descendants: Genealogy and Stories of Families From the U.S. Virgin Islands”.

As the meeting concluded, Vrede encouraged students to find their family history through genealogy kits and talking with their families.

“You want names, dates, location. and those things like ancestry.com” he said, ” that’s how you do your search”

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Myles Blair
Myles Blair, Photo Editor
Myles Blair is a current sophomore at Richland Northeast High School, where he is apart of the PCA Orchestra, Convergence Media Program, and Horizon. He acts as photo editor of the Saber online publication. A keen volunteer, avid reader, and movie enthusiast are all characteristics that fuel them in everyday life style. After graduation, he hopes to study at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. "I'm tired of the haters, I'm tired of the players, I'm tired of the games"- Kelly Price

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