The St. Thomas Graphics Collection

September 25, 2021, 2:00pm AT

The Printing Press and Community Memory: Virgin Islands History, Culture, Socioeconomics and Politics Archived in the St. Thomas Graphics Collection, Part II
presented by Senator Myron D. Jackson and Dr. Ruby Simmonds Esannason

A recording of the presentation is HERE

The written and printed word from time immortal has been on of man's greatest inventions. From the chiseled, cast stone and painted hieroglyphs inscribed on edifices of ancient Kemet temples, tombs, statues, functional art items and inscribed papyrus scrolled texts, our ancient ancestors recorded their way of life, their spirituality and their humanity. In a modern context, on a daily basis, we too continue this tradition by our use of the working tools of various inventions to inscribe our thoughts, actions, deeds and collective memory.

Senator Jackson and Dr. Simmonds will illustrate the importance of preserving our written and printed history which is so critically significant in the preservation of our collective memory. Collective memory as defined refers to the shared pool of memories, knowledge and information to a social group that is significantly associated with the group's identity. The St. Thomas Graphics Collection is a treasure trove of Virgin Islands history, culture and the identity of a people, and a narrative of a local printing press that transformed a community's oral and written history and their efforts to preserve their collective memory.

Presenter Biographies

Senator Myron D. Jackson's involvement in culture and politics has been in response to enthusiastic encouragement by the public. He took on leadership of the 32nd Legislature of the Virgin Islands as President, and the 33rd legislature as Vice President with a strong commitment to be "True to Service", a value passed on to him by his parents. A graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School in 1975 and the Parsons School of Design in New York in 1979, Senator Jackson has remained active in civic organizations and in government, dedicating his life's work to the protection of the cultural resources and the advancement of the cultural heritage of the Territory. In the 30th-33rd Legislatures, Senator Jackson served as the Chair of the Committee on Culture, Historic Preservation, Youth and Recreation.

Dr. Ruby Simmonds Esannason's, a native Virgin Islander and lifelong educator, has been a researcher, genealogist, and community activist for most of her adult life. Her professional life involves service to the Virgin Islands as an English teacher in the Virgin Islands Public School System; two terms as a Senator in the Legislature of the Virgin Islands; delegate to the Third and Fourth Virgin Islands Constitutional Conventions (including serving as Vice President of the 4th); and Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Education. She also taught at the University of the Virgin Islands, attaining the rank of Associate Professor of English and serving as Chair of the Humanities Division and Chair of the Faculty. Her interest in genealogy began over fifty years ago, when she started taking notes as she interviewed two of her mother's uncles. Since then she has avidly researched the roots of her family and has also assisted some friends and colleagues with their genealogical searches.

Made possible in part by a CFVI and NEH