Cyril King

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Cyril King
2nd Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 2, 1978
Lieutenant Juan Francisco Luis
Preceded by Melvin H. Evans
Succeeded by Juan Francisco Luis
Personal details
Born April 7, 1921
Died January 2, 1978(1978-01-02) (aged 56)
U.S. Virgin Islands
Resting place Kinghshill Cemetery
Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
Political party Independent Citizens Movement
Spouse(s) Agnes Agatha Schuster (?-1978)
Children one daughter, Lillia.
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit 873rd Port Company
Battles/wars World War II

Cyril Emanuel King (April 7, 1921 – January 2, 1978) was an U.S. Virgin Islander politician who served as the second elected governor of the United States Virgin Islands, serving from 1975 until his death in 1978.[1]

He also briefly served as acting governor in 1969, following the resignation of Governor Ralph M. Paiewonsky.

Early life[edit]

King was born in Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and grew up on the island.[1][2] During World War II, King served in the 873rd Port Company in Hawaii.[3]

After service, he attended American University where he earned a public administration degree.[1]

Political career[edit]

He worked for Hubert Humphrey, a Senator from Minnesota starting in 1949, black on the staff of a U.S. Senator.[2] He rose through the ranks of that office, eventually becoming his chief of staff.[1] As an appointed government secretary for John F. Kennedy he returned to the islands in 1951.[1]

To support his eventual for governor in 1970 and challenge the Democractic party in the Virgini Islands, he developed the Independent Citizens Movement.[4][2] Though his 1970 campaign was unsuccessful, he ran a narrow campaign victory in 1974 to become governor of the islands.[1] At the time of his death, he had been planning to run for a second term.[1]

Commemorative Plaque at the Cyril E. King Airport


Local statute in the Virgin Islands puts aside April 7, King's birthday, as "Cyril Emmanuel King Day".[5]

In 1984, the Harry S. Truman Airport on St. Thomas was renamed Cyril E. King Airport by the Virgin Islands Legislature.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Virgin Islands Loses Its Black Governor to Cancer". Jet: 15. Jan 19, 1978 – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ a b c "First Black Senate Staff Member Dies". Associated Press. Charlotte Observer-Reporter. 1978-01-04. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  3. ^ Thurland, Anne L. (2017-03-19). Will Thurland's World War II Photo Collection: The Virgin Islands Orchestra of the 873rd Port Company. AuthorHouse. pp. 14, 39. ISBN 9781468541229. 
  4. ^ Gunson, Phil; Chamberlain, Greg; Thompson, Andrew (2015-12-22). The Dictionary of Contemporary Politics of Central America and the Caribbean. Routledge. p. 161. ISBN 9781317270539. 
  5. ^ Staff (2013-04-04). "Cyril E. King Commemoration Set for Sunday". V.I. Source Archives. Retrieved 2017-03-19. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Melvin H. Evans
Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Succeeded by
Juan Francisco Luis