Virgin Islands History: AC/DC

William W. Hastie was the first black governor of the Virgin Islands, appointed to the position by U.S. President Harry S. Truman in 1946. Hastie later went on to become a judge of the U.S Circuit Court of Appeals.

On a trip to Denmark, Hastie told of an incident that illustrated the sentiment of some of the Virgin Islanders toward the change of government from Danish to American. It seems that while he was governor of the Virgin Islands there was a change of electric power from direct current, DC, to alternating current, AC. News of the change brought about a barrage of resistance and complaints from the older residents of the Islands.

Hastie asked a friend of his with contacts in the black community to explain the reasons for this mysterious opposition. “Your Excellency,” said the friend, “the people don’t want any of the American Current. They want to keep the old Danish Current.”

Rape of the American Virgins, Edward A. O’Neill

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