Another person with a household name in the Virgin Islands has passed.
The death of Wayne Adams, a native Virgin Islander, occurred in quick succession to that of his mother — literally days apart. He was 57.
Adams was a member of the Charlotte Amalie High School Class of 1981 and his passion for V.I. history came to the fore while he was a student at the College of the Virgin Islands (now the University of the Virgin Islands).
There are different kinds of historians. Those with several earned degrees in the subject, including doctor of philosophy or Ph.D., are usually based at universities, those who research and write outside of the academy, and those who are “public historians” whose knowledge of the past can be gleaned by observing them on social media, talk shows and in the public square.
In spite of misgivings, Mr. Adams, better known by the moniker “Facts Man,” and who often peddled his CDs and other offerings from the byways and streets of St. Thomas, was a sterling example of the last two kinds of historians. Another distinguished feature of Adams is that he came across as a Christian historian of sorts. He often prefaced his submissions with the refrain and salutation “in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This approach is dissimilar to other historians, whether Jews, Christians or Muslims, who compartmentalize and interpret the past and the world, sometimes even the sacred text, as if God does not exist and “have a hand in the affairs of men.”
Often constrained by the separation of church and state, God is held in abeyance and not allowed to supply the categories and parameters for the historians’ method. History is interpreted with an exclusively secular worldview.
Our memory of the popular Wayne Adams and his indelible contributions are etched in V.I. history. We extend condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.
— Dion E. Phillips, Ph.D., professor emeritus of sociology at University of the Virgin Islands, resides on St. Thomas.