Every day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with Phillys7thWard.org and Citizen Ed, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer. But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History Month … February is just the Blackest.
Today, our featured Black Educator is Luther Porter Jackson.
Luther Porter Jackson was an educator, historian, and civil rights leader in Virginia who advocated for Black voting rights in the United States. He was one of Virginia’s most important civil rights activists of the 1930s and 40s.
Jackson was born on July 11, 1892, in Lexington, Kentucky to once enslaved parents. He was the ninth of twelve children. Jackson was a graduate of the Chandler Normal School in Lexington. From there, Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in African American History at Fist University, a master’s from Columbia University Teachers College, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago.
By the time Jackson received his doctorate, he was already known as a well-established and competent professor. Jackson taught at the Voorhees Industrial School in South Carolina, the Topeka Industrial Institute in Kansas, the Virginia Normal and Industrial School and was a professor of history at the University of Chicago until his death.
Jackson’s scholarly focus was on Black people in Antebellum Virginia. His dissertation—published as “Free Negro Labor and Property Holding in Virginia, 1830–1860″—challenged negative racial stereotypes and historical misconceptions about free Blacks. Jackson also wrote other historical investigations including “Virginia Negro Soldiers and Seamen in the Revolutionary War” (1944) and “Negro Office Holders in Virginia” (1945).
Jackson participated in the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, promoting the work of the organization the Virginia state chairperson of the organization, expanding its presence throughout the state, and using it as a platform for political activism.
Jackson’s activism included membership in organizations including the Petersburg Negro Business Association, the Virginia Teachers Association (VTA), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern School for Workers, the Southern Conference Education Fund, the Southern Regional Council, and the progressive Southern Conference for Human Welfare to promote racial equality.
Jackson’s activist activities included stimulating the political awakening of Black Virginians through his writings, coordinating his civic groups to fight Jim Crow in Virginia, working with Thurgood Marshall to help equalize pay for Black and white teachers, and challenging segregation in public transit in Richmond.
Jackson used his education to fuel his activism on behalf of Black people in Virginia. He is a testament to how education can support the fight for the liberation of Black people; benefiting all people.
Luther Porter Jackson; a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.
For more information on Luther P. Jackson, visit the following site.