Home News Local news VOICE OF AMERICA PAYS TRIBUTE TO WAYNE JAMES

VOICE OF AMERICA PAYS TRIBUTE TO WAYNE JAMES

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St. Croix's Wayne James, founder of a project to pay tribute to the millions of Africans who perished in the Middle Passage, has been named one of the 100 most influential Caribbean people of the 20th Century by Voice of America Radio.
James, best known locally as an internationally successful fashion designer, is president of the Homeward Bound Foundation, which he formed to spearhead the Middle Passage Monument Project. The project honors the millions of enslaved African people killed during the transatlantic portion of the slave trade between Africa and the Americas.
The first phase of the project was the lowering of a monument last July 3, Virgin Islands Emancipation Day, onto the floor of the Atlantic Ocean 267 miles offshore from New York.
The sculpture, fabricated by Walsh Metal Works on St. Croix, faces Africa. Between 2000 and 2005, replicas of the work are to be placed on land in the six regions of the world where the slave trade occurred — Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, North America and South America.
James is currently in Europe in search of a site for the European monument. Portugal, Spain, England, France, The Netherlands and Denmark are being considered, according to Brian Johnson, monument project public relations director.
Voice of American reporter Derrice Deane said that "by placing the monument into the Atlantic Ocean this past July in recognition of the estimated millions of African people who perished as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, James did something that could have and should have been done by any one of the millions of people, black, white and others, whose lives have been affected by slavery.
"That the paying of the tribute occurred to James is astonishing. That he accomplished his monumental task almost single-handedly is even more astonishing."
Along with the honor from VOA, which also recognized such Caribbean icons as Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley for their contributions this century, James won the International Humanitarian Medal earlier this year. He also was a recipient of the Beacon of Freedom Award in 1998.
"It is wonderful to be honored by the international community," James said. "It is touching to know that my work is impacting the lives of many people from many walks of life."
For more information on the Middle Passage Project,click here.

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