W elcome to Here, St. John, an audio tour of the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as told by St Johnians.
The island of St. John is a remarkable spot in the Lesser Antilles islands in the center of the Caribbean chain, astonishingly diverse in its ecology as well as in its human history and culture. It’s no wonder that St. John is a beloved destination for people from around the world. St. John is also the location of Virgin Islands National Park, which owns two thirds of the real estate.
Life on the island for its residents, and particularly for those born on the island, is complex. The park, its visitors, and the people who are part of the tourism industry have been the dominant voices of the place.
So, beginning in the summer of 2020, Outer Voices embarked on an expedition to create an introductory tour of St. John as told by St Johnians. We also invited scientists who are longtime residents of St. John to speak on behalf of the other species who share that place.
Here, St. John is the result of many people’s time and effort to explain their own place, their point of view, and their way of life to people who come to visit. Our collective hope is that visitors take time to listen to their stories, their history, and their experience of life on St. John, to gain some understanding of the place they are traveling to before they come, and when they get here, gaining a glimpse of the incredible wealth of culture and experience of ordinary life on this extraordinary place.
We are grateful to all the St Johnians who agreed to participate, by sharing their perspectives on the history of the island and sharing their own personal histories: Elroy Sprauve, Eulita Jacobs, Faye Fredricks, Rosa Samuel, Paul Thomas, Dr. Hadiya Sewer, Kurt Marsh, Jr., Eleanor Gibney, Rafe Boulon, Jalayne Jones and David Knight Jr. Many thanks also to Nazareth Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cruz Bay for allowing us to meet and record in their hall, and to the good people of St. Jan Co. for sharing their vision and knowledge.
We are equally grateful to the scientists who have endeavored to speak on behalf of the species they strive to protect: Dr. Caroline Rogers, Jeff Miller, Adren Anderson, and Willow Melamet. Many thanks also to the Love City Pandragons for allowing me to record their rehearsal at Susannaberg one beautiful evening.
We look forward to expanding on the tour in the future, including new stories, additional speakers, and more places on the island.
Here, St. John would not have come to pass without the support and partnership of The Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park. We are grateful for the support of the National Endowment of the Humanities via the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
Gratitude to the dedicated crew that made the magic – Sara Goggin, assistant producer, Malia Guyer-Stevens, storymap maker, and Stellwagen Symphonette for their peerless music and sound design.
Thanks for listening,
Click anywhere in this section to experience the full Story Map.