Cyril King

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Cyril King
2nd Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 2, 1978
Preceded byMelvin H. Evans
Succeeded byJuan Francisco Luis
Personal details
Born(1921-04-07)April 7, 1921
Frederiksted, Virgin Islands, U.S.
DiedJanuary 2, 1978(1978-01-02) (aged 56)
Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 1968)
Independent Citizens Movement (1968–1978)
Spouse(s)Agnes Schuster
Children1 daughter
EducationAmerican University (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Unit873rd Port Company
Battles/warsWorld War II

Cyril Emanuel King (April 7, 1921 – January 2, 1978) was a politician, who served as the second elected governor of the United States Virgin Islands 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 on the island of Saint Croix, where he lived during his formative years.[1][2] During World War II, he served in the 873rd Port Company in Hawaii.[3]

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

Political career[edit]

Starting in 1949, King worked for Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, as the first black member of staff of the U.S. Senate.[2] He rose through the ranks of the office, eventually becoming chief of staff.[1] He returned to the islands in 1951 as an appointed government secretary for John F. Kennedy .[1]

To support his election for governor in 1970 and challenge the Democratic Party in the Virgin Islands, he developed the Independent Citizens Movement.[4][2] Even though his 1970 campaign was unsuccessful, he ran again in 1974 and won, becoming the second governor of the Virgin 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


A Virgin Islands' statute 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. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20 – 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. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20.
  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. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20.
  5. ^ Staff (2013-04-04). "Cyril E. King Commemoration Set for Sunday". V.I. Source Archives. Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2017-03-19.

External links[edit]

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