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CalendarNovember in 20201 → D. Hamilton Jackson Day in U.S. Virgin Islands

D. Hamilton Jackson Day in U.S. Virgin Islands

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David Hamilton Jackson (1884-1946) was a United States Virgin Islands civil rights leader. At the time of his birth, the Territory was under the rule of Danish West Indies. Jackson was an important figure in the struggle for increased civil liberties and workersí rights on the islands.
When plantation owners refused to increase wages during the sugar harvest in 1915-16, the farm workers on St. Croix went on strike Ė led by Jackson and the union. The end result was that the plantation owners had to accept that the work day from sunup to sundown was reduced to 9 hours and that the workers were given a raise from 10-20 cents to 35 cents per day. After this, the dock workers on St. Thomas also went on strike and also achieved considerable improvements in work conditions and wages. Jackson petitioned for freedom of the press, organized the islands first union, and when the Danish West Indies became the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1917, he lobbied for citizenship for the islanders.
Jackson worked as an educator and later a bookkeeper and clerk before becoming involved in the politics of the Danish West Indies. He traveled to Denmark and successfully petitioned for the repeal of a 1779 law which prohibited independent newspapers and enforced strict censorship on all publications in the territory. Upon returning home, he established the first free newspaper, The Herald. The date of this event, November 1, is celebrated as an annual public holiday known as "Liberty Day", D. Hamilton Jackson Day, or Bull and Bread Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
With the help of Ralph Bough, Jackson organized the first union in the Danish West Indies, St. Croix Labor Union, in 1913. He lobbied for the transfer of the islands from Danish control to American control, and after the sale of the islands to the United States in 1917, he led a movement to demand U.S. citizenship for residents of the territory.
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