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William Frederick Solomon

William Frederick Solomon was born in 1881. Little is known of his youth except that he had learnt the carpenter’s trade and in 1911 he was employed on the construction of the Basseterre Sugar Factory. He was dismissed form that job because of his anti-management attitudes. He had successfully attempted to manufacture and sell soap but eventually went into business as a building contractor and undertaker working out of Liverpool Row. By 1917 he had a sufficiently large income to qualify as a juror.

Solomon attributed his involvement in the trade union to a letter written to him by labourers describing their dissatisfaction with the low wages that they received.

In 1917, along with Joseph Nathan and George Wilkes, attempted to form a union to organize labour in St. Kitts. This was during the war and the Administration did not take kindly to the idea. A law was quickly passed prohibiting the creation of trade unions during the war years. He then became the first President of the St. Kitts Universal Benevolent Association. Although it was nit registered as a union, the UBA attempted to operate as one. Solomon’s occupation as a building contractor was important to the UBA as it placed him in a position to offer employment and financial assistance to loyal followers. His involvement with the UBA caused his business to suffer financially. Administrator Burdon claimed that his ‘better’ customers withdrew their business, allegedly because of his ‘anti-white’ speeches. Solomon died in the 19th July 1918 at the age of thirty-seven. His sudden death caused by heart failure was a serious blow to the budding organisation.

National Archives
Government Headquarters
Church Street
Basseterre
St. Kitts, West Indies

Tel: 869-467-1422 | 869-467-1208
Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.kn
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