Home News Local news St. Croix Hosting David Hamilton Jackson Day Celebration Wednesday

St. Croix Hosting David Hamilton Jackson Day Celebration Wednesday

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Oct. 30, 2006 — Wednesday St. Croix will mark David Hamilton Jackson Day, celebrating the achievements of an educator, journalist, judge, legislator and labor leader.
Attention will focus on Grove Place, which will host festivities and give candidates a chance to rub elbows with constituents just before the Nov. 7 election. Organizers anticipate more than just a local turnout.
"Boatloads of people are expected from St. Thomas," said Raymond Williams, Grove Place Action Committee president.
The committee traditionally hosts the activities, and organizers are preparing to welcome thousands of visitors to the tiny West End village. This year's activities include a parade beginning at 11 a.m., actors and poets. The keynote address will be given by one lucky fourth-, fifth- or sixth-grader from Eulalie R. Rivera School, highlighting the accomplishments of Jackson and the importance of celebrating the day.
Williams hopes the turnout for this year's festivities will equal or surpass that of previous years. Speakers will include Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards and Senate President Lorraine L. Berry. While free to roam the park and speak to voters, Williams said, candidates should not use the forum for political speeches, but limit their comments to the subject of Jackson. For positive reinforcement to the children of the community, he said, vendors should not sell toy guns or cigarettes, and he also requested no sale of bottled liquids.
Every year the committee singles out residents to honor for their outstanding commitment to the community. This year the focus is on Antonio Messer of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and DPW Commissioner George Phillips. Messer, Williams said, has been outstanding in the community and has been with Williams "at every juncture for the last 10 years." Of Phillips, Williams said, "Without a doubt he has been the best commissioner to date."
Jackson was born in Estate Hill, St. Croix, on Sept. 28, 1884. In 1913, with the help of Ralph Bough, Jackson organized the island's first labor union. Because of his knowledge and oratorical skills, Jackson was selected to go to Denmark and make a plea to remove the censorship of newspapers in what was then the Danish West Indies. He fought and won his case before King Christian X, and in 1915 established the territory's first free press, The Herald.
At that time, the Danish government gradually came to realize that governance over its only colonies was becoming increasingly cumbersome. They entered into negotiations to transfer the Virgin Islands to the U.S. Jackson led the way in gaining support for the 1917 transfer.
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