November 1 – Liberty Day in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted on November 1, 2017

Today is a celebration of David Hamilton Jackson, who was really important in the history of the Danish West Indies.

And, since the Danish West Indies are history, themselves, he is also important in the history of the U.S. Virgin Islands!

Back in the early 1900s, some Caribbean islands were ruled by Denmark - specifically, by the King of Denmark. A teacher / bookkeeper / clerk named David Hamilton Jackson was unhappy about a law that barred any independent newspapers in the Danish West Indies. He was even more unhappy about the strict censorship enforced on all publications in the islands. Jackson was bold enough to travel all the way to Denmark to petition the King for freedom of press. 

And he was successful!

When Jackson returned, he started an independent newspaper, which he called The Herald. Today is the anniversary of the 1915 printing of the first edition of this newspaper.

Other very important things that Jackson did included working for workers' rights and other civil rights and organizing the islands' first trade union. He lobbied for the islands to be transferred to American control, rather than continuing as Danish territories, and when that actually happened, Jackson worked to make sure the islanders became U.S. citizens. 

Today is also called D. Hamilton Jackson Day and Bull and Bread Day. 

Check out some of the loveliness that is the U.S. Virgin Islands:

St. Thomas

St. John

St. Croix

Unfortunately, this September Hurricane Irma was devastating to the U.S. Virgin Islands. A lot of people are suffering, and a lot of the former loveliness is damaged or destroyed.