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1890 Exhibit: Celebrating UF Partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities: UF Collaboration with the University of U. S. Virgin Islands

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the second Morrill Act which addressed racial inequality in land grant colleges of agriculture in southern states of the U.S. This guide showcases partnerships between the UF and two HBCUs: FAMU and UVI.

Historical Photos of Agriculture in the U. S. Virgin Islands

Brief History of U. S. Virgin Islands

The three islands that comprise the U. S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix, have a varied history.  The islands were colonized or occupied by England, Holland, Spain, France and Denmark.  Slavery enabled plantation economies to dominate the islands until slavery was abolished in 1848.  The U. S. acquired the three islands from Denmark in 1917 following a devastating hurricane in 1916.  The territory was managed by the U. S. Navy and Interior Departments until 1936 when residents of the U. S. Virgin Islands became U. S. citizens.  Today the islands' economy relies heavily on tourism, although agriculture persists.

The University of the Virgin Islands was established in 1962.  It is a public, land-grant HBCU with 2,500 students on two campuses: St. Croix and St. Thomas.  As a land-grant institution, the University of the Virgin Islands manages an Agricultural Experiment Station and the UVI Cooperative Extension Service.  Two popular events hosted by these groups each year are the AgriFest Agriculture & Food Fair in February and Mango Melee each July.

UF and UVI Partnerships Today

Today, the University of Florida and the University of the Virgin Islands continue to work together on a variety of projects.  Since 2004, both institutions, along with Florida International University, administer the Digital Library of the Caribbean. The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative project that provides access to Caribbean cultural, historical, and research materials held in archives, libraries, museums and private collections.  dLOC now boasts 39 partners who work together to preserve and provide free electronic access to over 2 million pages of material.

Librarians at UF and UVI are also

working together to identify and digitize

important agricultural publications from

the U.S. Virgin Islands.  

Want to know more? Here are some recommended resources.

Did you know that one of Florida's first senators was born in St. Thomas?  Find out more from:

University of Florida Home Page

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