Cover image for Luther P. Jackson and a life for civil rights
Luther P. Jackson and a life for civil rights
Dennis, Michael, 1967-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville, FL : University Press of Florida, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiv, 254 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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E185.97.J26 D46 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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During the 1930s and 1940s, when America had little interest in addressing racial inequality, Luther P. Jackson became a loading voice in the struggle for racial Justice. This biography tells the story of the professor and political activist who cajoled, implored, and lobbied black Virginians to vote - a man who fervently believed that education was at the core of the search for social change. Long before the sit-Ins and freedom marches of the 1960s, Jackson strove to erase the assumptions of racial inferiority that infected African Americans. Understanding that blacks had to change their minds before they could change their world, he set out to make people vote conscious. Descended from ex-slaves, Jackson was born in 1892, attended school in Lexington, Kentucky, and received bachelor's and master's degrees from Fisk University in Tennessee and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Petersburg. Convinced that teachers could sow the seeds of racial equality, he mobilized them along with their students and families. By publishing, organizing, and proselytising on behalf of voting, Jackson stimulated a political awakening among black Virginians. As a target for racial recrimination and hostility, Jackson walked a tightrope of protest and accommodation, one that jeopardized his health, family, and career. Yet he was a tenacious optimist with faith in the political process. legislative maneuvers did not render conventional institutions useless. Largely forgotten, even in Virginia, until the author resurrected his story, Jackson was involved in almost every important civil rights and liberal initiative in the South in the second quarter of the 20th century. His forceful program of political education laid the ground-work for the full-fledged assault on segregation of the 1950s, when Marlin Luther King and other leaders of the civil rights movement emerged to stand on Jackson's shoulders.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Dennis (Acadia Univ., NS) discusses the life of Luther Jackson (1892-1950), a black historian educated at the University of Chicago who worked closely with (even as he had significant philosophical disagreements with) the luminary of modern African American history, Carter Woodson. Jackson's more populist take on the role of African American historians clashed with Woodson's more academic approach; nevertheless, both cooperated in building the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and in the important Journal of Negro History. Jackson's was a busy and full life. He was the author of important studies on black property ownership in Virginia, a professor at Virginia State College, a social leader in a wide variety of African American organizations, and a political activist who fought the disfranchisement of black citizens and cooperated with liberal whites in groups such as the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. This work joins the growing list of studies that stress the 1930s and 1940s as a real flourishing of civil rights activism, rather than as "simply a preamble to what would come later." For Jackson, the movement "was unfolding in a dramatic and surprising way in places as unlikely as Petersburg and Farmsville, Virginia." This is a fine study of a neglected figure. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. P. Harvey University of Colorado at Colorado Springs