Grove Place gears up for Liberty Day
Published: October 30, 2012
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ST. CROIX - The Grove Place Action Committee is gearing up to hold its annual Liberty Day celebrations on Thursday to commemorate the life and legacy of David Hamilton Jackson.
Liberty Day also is known as D. Hamilton Jackson Day and Bull and Bread Day. Schools, banks, local government offices and some retail stores will be closed.
Raymond Williams, committee chairman, said festivities will start at 1 p.m. in the Grove Place park named in honor of Jackson, a powerful labor leader, banker and community activist who published The Herald, the first V.I. newspaper that did not bear the Danish government seal.
Jackson was born in 1884 and died in 1946.
In 1915, Jackson traveled to Denmark to fight for the revocation of a royal edict prohibiting privately owned newspapers. After winning that battle that year, the first issue was published. In honor of the publication, a bull was slaughtered and roasted, and roast beef and bread were given to the public to celebrate.
The Herald was just the beginning of Jackson's efforts on behalf of Virgin Islanders. He organized the first labor union in the Danish West Indies, which led to the end of violent uprisings and the start of organized protests. Since Nov. 1, 1927, the day of one of his most powerful labor speeches, Liberty Day has been a holiday, celebrated with the traditional feast.
Because it is an election year, Williams said he expects the streets to be filled with political aspirants and their supporters wearing T-shirts and handing out information to potential voters.
The keynote speaker this year will be Denise Hinds-Roach, nominee for Family Court judge on St. Croix, who will be replacing Judge Patricia Steel, who soon will retire.
Williams said he is proud to be able to bring Hinds-Roach to be a speaker at the ceremony because she grew up in Grove Place and has continued to be a dynamic influence for young people in the community.
"She is a Grovian, and she has done us proud by continuing to excel," he said. "She and Presiding Judge Darryl Donohue grew up as neighbors in Estate Hard Labor, and we are proud to be able to show off this product of Grove Place that supports my saying that Grove Place is the mecca of the territory."
Williams wanted to remind vendors that they need permission from land owners before they can set up to sell their goods and that any landowner has the right to have the police remove anyone who is on their property without permission.
"The committee has nothing to do with this, so everybody is encouraged to do the right thing," he said.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.