ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS – Governor Kenneth E. Mapp honored the legacy of Virgin Islands icon, David Hamilton Jackson, as the Territory observes Liberty Day or D. Hamilton Jackson Day on Wednesday, November 1.

“As we remember the life and times of this outstanding Virgin Islander we give thanks for his tireless efforts to advance self-determination and human rights throughout the Danish West Indies and later the U.S. Virgin Islands,” the Governor said. “His efforts to ensure that residents of the Territory were granted American citizenship and all the rights and privileges thereof are particularly notable as we count on the assistance of the federal government to aid in our recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 

Normally all schools and Government offices are closed November 1 in honor of Jackson, however, school days lost to the recent hurricanes necessitate students remaining in class this year. Other Government offices will be closed Wednesday. The tribute to Jackson, typically held in Grove Place on St. Croix, has been canceled this year by the committee that organizes it.

 At the time of Jackson’s birth in St. Croix in 1884, the Territory was ruled by Denmark. Jackson was an important figure in the struggle for increased civil liberties and workers’ rights in the islands. He fought for freedom of the press, traveling to Denmark to successfully petition for the repeal of a 1779 law that prohibited independent newspapers and enforced strict censorship on all publications in the Territory. Upon returning home, he established the first free newspaper, The Herald. With the help of Ralph Bough, Jackson organized the first labor union in the Danish West Indies in 1913. He favored the transfer of the islands from Danish to American control, and after the sale of the Territory to the United States in 1917, he lobbied for full U.S. citizenship for residents.