News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Feb. 9, 2023: Today we spotlight on another black Caribbean immigrant who was a was a notable Black civil rights leader and political activist. 

Elizabeth Hendrickson

Harlem-Tenants-League-rallies was led by Elizabeth Anna Hendrickson
Caribbean immigrant Elizabeth Anna Hendrickson helped lead the Harlem Tenants League rallies.

Elizabeth Anna Hendrickson was born in St Croix, while it was still a Danish colony – before it was purchased by the US government and incorporated into the US Virgin Islands. At age 11 years old, she was sent to New York to stay with her aunt. In New York, she became a member of the Quaker organization and had a love child by G.E. Willett, son of an influential Quaker family from Quebec.

She later became a prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance movement of east New York and was a well-known street corner speaker and was involved in the struggles of the Harlem Tenants League in the 1920s.

Hendrickson helped to establish benevolent organizations, several groups in New York including the American West Indians Ladies Aid Society, and the Virgin Islands Catholic Relief Organization to help Virgin Islanders at home and in Harlem. She also assisted prominent Virgin Islander Rothschild Francis in establishing his paper, The Emancipator.

Along with Ashley L. Totten, she formed the Virgin Islands Protective Association, which aimed at addressing the mistreatment of those in their homeland. Authorities frequently blamed Caribbean immigrants for stirring up discontent in Harlem. Hendrickson introduced her radical thoughts to a mass that was eager at least to listen to new ideas. In this way Hendrickson, among other Virgin Islanders, played a significant part in the shaping of politics in New York City. What is clear is that Hendrickson was a lifelong champion of civil rights, racial justice and support for West Indians and Virgin Islanders, both in the islands and the states. She died in 1946.

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