David Hamilton Jackson was born on September 28, 1884, on St. Croix, Danish West Indies. He was a teacher, the owner and editor of a newspaper, and a judge. During his life he spoke publicly about wanting better living and working conditions for the Black working-class people in the islands. In 1915 David Hamilton Jackson traveled from St. Croix, Danish West Indies to Denmark. In Denmark he spoke to politicians, the king, the press, laborers of the largest labor union in Copenhagen, and other members of the community that came out to hear what he had to say. Some of the topics he spoke about were the living and working conditions back in St. Croix, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. When he returned to St. Croix from Denmark, he started a newspaper for the people called “The Herald”. David Hamilton Jackson used his newspaper to write about what was happening on St. Croix and the conditions of the working people. He used the newspaper to educate the working people of the island. The first edition of “The Herald” was released on October 29th, 1915. It included thank you messages to all the people that helped get the newspaper published. The edition released on November 1, 1915, was the first edition for general distribution to the community. In the US Virgin Islands we celebrate November 1st as Liberty Day and D. Hamilton Jackson Day.
In this activity, students will use questions from an Analyze a Photograph worksheet to examine a photograph of David Hamilton Jackson addressing a crowd in Denmark, in the year 1915. Students will learn more about David Hamilton Jackson. They will also learn the term active citizenship and consider the importance of being engaged citizens.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Before beginning this activity, help students to understand what a primary source is, have students provide examples of primary sources, help them with examples as needed, discuss why a photograph is a primary source, and discuss the difference between primary sources and secondary sources.
Ask students what they know about David Hamilton Jackson.
Load the photograph onto an interactive smart board and have students make observations together. If there is not a smart board, students can work in small groups at computers.
Also load the Analyze Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through discussing their answers to questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
You may load the Analyze a Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
Have students complete the Analyze Photograph worksheet individually, in small groups, or as a class. Help students as needed to complete the worksheets. Review their answers and the observations as a class. Work through the sections:
Meet the photo.
Observe its parts.
Try to make sense of it.
Use it as historical evidence.
You may wish to draw students’ attention to details in the photograph such as clothing, that Jackson is standing on something to make him higher than the crowd, that he speaking to a large crowd, and the background building.
When the class is finished answering the questions on the worksheet, students will be asked what they learned about David Hamilton Jackson from the photograph. Do any details in the photo give clues about him? Explain their answer.
The teacher can share the information from the About section as needed, or help students to read it out loud.
Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Press: David Hamilton Jackson spoke about freedom of expression and freedom of press when he visited Denmark, and when he returned, he started a newspaper. The teacher can help students understand what these rights mean.
Freedom of press allows people who report the news and give opinions in the news to do their jobs without the government stopping them or blocking what they report. Freedom of expression allows people to hold opinions and to express and share them.
What is the purpose of Virgin Islanders celebrating Liberty Day on November 1st in Grove Place, St. Croix?
Active Citizenship: The teacher should describe the term: active citizenship. Active citizenship means that people are involved in their community, that they know what is going on in the community, and that they care about the community and will help make changes that make the community better for everyone. After students learn what the term active citizenship means, the teacher can ask the questions. Do students think David Hamilton Jackson was an active citizen in his community on St. Croix? Explain their answer. Why is being an active citizen important? Can students think of ways they can be active citizens in their school and community?
Message and Media: Have the class pretend that they have an important message they want to share with their community. Will they use a newspaper to get their message out to the community? What printed newspapers exist in the Virgin Islands today? What other methods of communication will they consider? Did the methods the students suggest using today, exist when David Hamilton Jackson started his newspaper in 1915? How have the ways we communicate changed in the last 100 years?
3rd Grade: Tell someone what you learned. Teachers can print coloring sheets representing David Hamilton Jackson to distribute to students. View and Print Coloring Sheets. Have students color the artwork of David Hamilton Jackson. They will use their David Hamilton Jackson artwork to give a short presentation. Have students show their artwork to someone at home and explain to their family who David Hamilton Jackson was, and what they learned about him in class.
4th and 5th Grade: Have the class create a newspaper that includes school and island news. Plan to complete the project in time for celebrating Liberty Day and D. Hamilton Jackson Day which is November 1st in the Virgin Islands. There are resources online detailing classroom projects for developing class newspapers.