12 November 2015

US Virgin Islands celebrates David Hamilton Jackson Month

    Judge, Editor, the Herald,  Labor leader, "Black Moses" (1884-1946) 

David Hamilton Jackson was born on Estate East Hill, Christiansted, St. Croix, on September 28, 1884. He was educated in the East Hill School of which his father was principal. He represented the people in Denmark to put their pleas before King Christian X and the Danish parliament. He fought his case with such skill and vigor that he succeeded in convincing the King and Parliament to abolish governmental control of the press. Jackson returned home with the right to a free press and published "The Herald," a newspaper, shortly thereafter. "D. Hamilton Jackson Day" (formerly known as Liberty Day) is celebrated in the Virgin Islands on November 1st, in observation of freedom of the press. The month of November has been designated as "David Hamilton Jackson Month" to highlight Mr. Jackson's achievements and his contributions to the people of the Virgin Islands. 

This newspaper (The Herald) was the voice of the people. Jackson used it not only to inform, but to educate the laboring class. In 1915, Jackson, together with Ralph Bough, organized a labor union on St. Croix.At that time, men, women, and children labored in the cane fields from dawn to dusk for wages of 10 and 20 cents a day. The labor union agitated for higher wages and better working conditions which they won after general strike. 

Jackson's crusade for human rights extended beyond the labor movement in alter years. He studied law at Howard University in the United States around 1910, and he returned to St. Croix and engaged in private practice. 

He served in the Colonial Council from 1/23/26 and in the Municipal Council from 1941-46. The major difference between these two legislative bodes centered around governing powers. The Colonial Council existed during Danish occupation and was so named because of Danish Royalty involvement in the colonies, whereas the Municipal Council existed during American occupation when the territories were divided into municipalities of St. Thomas and St. John, and the Municipality of St. Croix. 

In recognition of his contributions to education on the island, he was appointed to the St. Croix School Board where he served as its first chairman, and was reelected to that office for a term of fifteen years. In 1931 he was appointed Judge of the police court of Christiansted until his resignation in 1941. 

Judge D. Hamilton Jackson was truly one of the most distinguished citizens of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He served his people with distinction as an educator, editor, labor leader, lawyer, judge, and politician, until his death on May 30, 1946. 

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