Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin's Letter on Governor Cyril E. King
April 7, 2021
TO: The VIDE Community
SUBJECT: Cyril Emmanuel King Day
Pursuant to Title 1, Virgin Islands Code, § 188, on April 7th of each year, Cyril Emmanuel King's birthday is observed as "Cyril Emmanuel King Day" in the Virgin Islands. Cyril E King was a founding member of the Independent Citizens Movement (ICM) political party in the Virgin Islands, founded in 1968. As a member of the ICM Party, King became the second elected governor of the Territory.
A native Crucian, King was appointed as an aide to Senator Hubert Humphrey in 1949. Senator Humphrey later became the 38th Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969. King served as the first African American in the office of a U.S. senator. In 1971, President Kennedy appointed King as the Virgin Islands government secretary, a post equivalent to that of the lieutenant governor’s position.
King was Acting Governor of the Virgin Islands for six months in 1969. In 1970, he and his party challenged the long-standing parties in the Virgin Islands in the race for governor. King was unsuccessful that campaign year, but he ran again in 1974 and became the second elected governor of the Virgin Islands. King died in office on January 2, 1978.
To further honor King's contributions to the Virgin Islands, the legislature renamed the Harry S. Truman Airport on St. Thomas the Cyril E. King Airport in 1984.
ICM party member, Positive T. Nelson, hosts an annual commemorative grave-site ceremony to honor Governor King. The Division of Virgin Islands Cultural Education will partner with Mr. Nelson to provide highlights of the ceremony on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Please join the Virgin Islands Department of Education in recognizing and honoring the late, great Cyril Emmanuel King.