Digitization for Access and Preservation
A Collaborative Project of the University of the Virgin Islands Libraries and the Virgin Islands Division of Libraries, Archives, and Museums
(Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services)
HILL, VALDEMAR A., SR.
May 1, 1914 - May 9, 1976
Valdemar A. Hill, Sr., was born on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, on May 1, 1914. His educational background includes: Charlotte Amalie High School; a summer session in general economics at Columbia University In 1944; and A.B. degree in political science from McKinley-Roosevelt College, Chicago, in 1947; and an LLB degree from La Salle Estension University, Chicago, in 1952.
Mr. Hill entered the local government service as an employee in the Department of Health in 1932. In 1937, he was one of the organizers of the first political party in the Virgin Islands. THE PROGRESSIVE GUIDE. This organization was founded in order to make the masses of people aware of their new responsibilities under the 1936 Organic Act which granted universal suffrage to the citizens of the Virgin Islands.
He served as the leader of the Progressive Guide from 1939 to 1945. During that time, he was elected on the party's ticket to the Municipal Council of St. Thomas - St. John. Thereafter was reelected in 1942 and 1944. Mr. Hill sponsored legislation for the first minimum wage law, which is known as Hill's Wage and Hour Law. In order to get the Governor to approve this significant piece of social legislation, Mr. Hill led a March to Government House on behalf of the people in 1941. He also sponsored legislation for evening school for adults, rent control, improved housing, sanitation and hospitalization, poor relief, and the first Anti-Discrimination Act (1945).
During his term in the legislative body he served on all of its important committees and was elected Chairman of that body in 1944, and chairman of the Finance Committee (1941 to 1943). He also served as Secretary of the Legislative Assembly of the Virgin Islands. In addition, Mr. Hill served as a member of the St. Thomas - St. John School Board for many years, and was chairman of the Board in 1944. He also served as chairman of the St. Thomas Library Commission for about fifteen years.
During his political career, Mr. Hill was a leader in organizing many liberal political movements in the islands, including the Liberal Party in 1948; the Unity Party in 1952; he was instrumental in the merger of the Unity Party and Democratic Party in 1963 and assisted in drafting the first Election Code for the Virgin Islands in 1963.
In 1967, in commemoration of the semicentennial of the Transfer of the Virgin Islands from Denmark to the United States of America, Mr. Hill published a book, A Golden Jubilee covering the historical events, economic and social progress in the islands. At present he is completing another book which is entitled Black Destiny in the Virgins. He is a member of the Cathedral Church of All Saints, where he has served as Senior Warden, and is now Vestryman. He belongs to the American Political Association, the International Platform Association, and the St. Thomas Lions Club.
In 1970 Mr. Hill was a candidate for gubernatorial race for first elected governor. Even though unsuccessful in the race bid, he fulfilled a life dream by entering the race.
His latest work, Rise to Recognition (1971) is an informal history of the social, political and economic progress of black islanders.
At the time of his passing, May 9, 1976, Mr. Hill served as legislative consulate to the Legislature of the Virgin Islands and also as St. Thomas District Chairman of the Democratic Party.
His marriage to the former Florence Molyneaux produced eight children all of whom are currently employed in outstanding positions.
St. Croix Campus Library
Ralph M. Paiewonsky Library