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Liberty Day: U.S. Virgin Islands

Celebrating the life and work of David Hamilton Jackson

by Liz Olson

Held as a public holiday in the U.S. Virgin Islands annually on 1 November, Liberty Day commemorates David Hamilton Jackson and the institution of Free Press in the Danish West Indies, now the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As a territory of Denmark, the Danish West Indies were under severe censorship on all publications. David Hamilton Jackson, who was born in St. Croix in 1884, petitioned the King of Denmark for freedom of press. Jackson was successful in his efforts to remove strict censorship in the Danish West Indies that had been in place in 1779. He started the first free newspaper, the Herald, and helped organize the first labor union in the Danish West Indies during the early 20th century.

“Liberty Day” is celebrated on 1 November—the day Jackson printed the first addition of the Herald in 1915—in appreciation of his efforts on behalf of the people.

U.S. Virgin Islands

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The United States purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million on Dec. 20, 1803.

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