A West Indian’s emotional poem about the sale

Despite the harsh past history, some inhabitants in the West Indian colony felt closely attached to their distant mother country. The transfer to the USA involved both hope for the future and sadness at the farewell to Denmark.
Picture of the poem.
The poem that Ralph Faris sent to Ambassador Constantin Brun (Danish National Archives).

A former inhabitant of the Danish West Indies, Ralph Faris, expresses the mixed feelings in a poem. The poem is stored in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Danish National Archives because Ambassador Constantin Brun in Washington sent it to Copenhagen in May 1917, shortly after the sale of the West Indian islands to the USA. Brun had received the poem from a former inhabitant of the colony, who asked the ambassador to forward it to the Danish government. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs merely filed the poem.

”To-day our hearts are bruised and sore”

The poem was by Ralph Faris, who according to Brun was ”a Negro born on St. Thomas on 2nd December 1895, now residing in New York”, where he worked at a railway or tram company. Faris wrote the emotional poem on the transfer of the three islands to the USA. The poem, entitled Flagskiftet, was written in English.