Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. issued a proclamation declaring Friday, Nov. 1, as ‘David Hamilton Jackson (Liberty) Day’ and designating the month as ‘David Hamilton Jackson Month.’
D. Hamilton Jackson was born on St. Croix in 1884, and during his life he was a labor leader, politician, educator, lawyer, newspaper editor, judge, banker, statesman and community activist, working tirelessly for workers’ rights and civil rights for the residents of the territory under Danish rule and also while the U.S. Virgin islands was under the U.S. Naval Administration.
Among his many accomplishments, in 1915 Jackson started the first labor union in the territory to improve wages and working conditions for the people of the Danish West Indies.
He also traveled to Denmark and persuaded the Danish Government to revoke the royal edict prohibiting privately owned newspapers, and he then established the first privately owned newspaper, The Herald, also in 1915. He used the newspaper to bring about social and economic change to benefit the residents of the islands.
As a judge under the U.S. Naval Administration, D. Hamilton Jackson was instrumental in helping craft the Organic Act of 1936, guaranteeing the civil rights that the Revised Organic Act of 1954 is based on.
“We stand on the shoulders of D. Hamilton Jackson in a continual quest for better education and training, rewarding employment and the best possible entrepreneurial opportunities for the people of the territory,” Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said. “The Bryan-Roach Administration is also committed, just as was this Virgin Islands icon, to preserving the civil rights of our residents and freedom of the press in our territory.”
Friday, which is a holiday for the Government of the Virgin Islands, also is known as “Liberty Day” and “Bull and Bread Day,” and there is a traditional Bull and Bread feast of roast beef and bread that takes place every year at Grove Place on St. Croix.