Alphonse Jackson Jr.

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The Honorable Alphonse Jackson, Jr. of Baton Rouge, passed into eternal life on December 23, 2014 at The Crossing at Clarity Hospice of Baton Rouge. He was 87. Born on November 27, 1927, in Shreveport, Louisiana, he was the son of the late Alphonse Jackson, Sr. and Mattie P. (Beaner) Jackson. As a child, he was known for being intelligent and hard-working and he excelled academically. During the summers he worked on his grandfather's farm picking cotton and baling hay. In later years, he gained entrepreneurial skills at Beaner's Grocery and on the corner of Line Avenue at his father's Phillip's 66 Friendly Service Station. Upon his graduation from Central High School he entered Southern University in Baton Rouge where he was initiated into the Beta Sigma Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Shortly after signing up for selective service he was drafted into World War II and from 1946 to 1948 he served in the United States Army. He was among the military personnel deployed to Hiroshima and Nagasaki to engage in atomic cleanup operations. Following his honorable discharge from the United States Army he returned to Southern University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies with honors in 1951. Shortly thereafter he matriculated to New York University, earning a Master's of Arts in Secondary Education Administration in 1961 and later completed additional postgraduate studies. He taught Social Studies and English to junior high school students in the Caddo Parish School System in the early 1950s and became Chair of the Social Sciences Department at Central. In that role he planned innovative curriculum for inner city children before being promoted to school administrator. For eighteen years he served as a Principal; first at Central and later at Judson Elementary School. He was among the first African-American principals to be assigned to a predominantly white school during the desegregation of the Caddo School System. In 1960 he was recognized as Educator of the Year for Caddo Parish Schools. In 1962, the Louisiana Education Association presented him with the Citizenship Education Award for Civil Rights Leadership. He went on to serve as president of the statewide teachers' organization and was a pivotal force in the merger of the Louisiana Education Association with the Louisiana Teachers Association. In the early 1970s, when several one-race schools still remained in his school district, he was appointed to the ten-member Biracial Committee to Desegregate Schools in Caddo Parish. He was also one of three men who met with President Richard Nixon to strategize about the best way to successfully integrate Louisiana schools. He also served as a field representative for the National Education Association. His passion for education led him into political advocacy. In 1972, he was elected to serve the people of District 2 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was the first black legislator to be elected from Caddo Parish since Reconstruction. Later that year he was named one of the Top Ten Louisiana Legislators. In the following year he was elected as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973. As Chairman of the Committee on Bill of Rights and Elections at the Convention he worked with other delegates to craft the Louisiana Constitution of 1974. It became a blueprint for equal opportunity, fair labor relations, expanded voter participation and greater protections for the individual. This constitution has been called the most significant achievement in Louisiana's history during the twentieth century. In 1973, he was named Shreveport's Man of the Year. He worked with the Louisiana Education Association to investigate civil rights complaints filed by teachers, school personnel and parents. For several years he directed legal defense efforts for professional educators in Louisiana and coordinated the Head Start Program. In 1977, he became one of ten chartering members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. During his twenty years in the Legislature he served on the House Education, Judiciary and Education Committees (1972-1980) and the House Appropriations Committee (1974-1980) and he chaired the House Health and Welfare Committee (1980-1992). As a Democratic legislator, he worked closely with Governor Edwin Edwards to manage legislation for the Governor's Office. Outside of the Legislature, he served as President of Jackson, Nicholson and Associates where he coordinated political campaigns and planned public relations and marketing programs at the state and local levels. After his departure from the State Legislature he worked as a Public Affairs Consultant for The Hurst Group, a public relations and government affairs firm. He organized grassroots advocacy campaigns, lobbied the Louisiana Legislature and implemented public relations programs for his clients. For many years he was a member of Zion Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana; more recently he was a member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was a former member and past president of the Delta Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He was a Life Member of the NAACP and a Life Member of the Louisiana Association of Educators. The Alphonse Jackson, Jr. Early Childhood Center in Shreveport, Louisiana bears his name. The Shreveport Times named him as one of the one hundred most influential people of northwest Louisiana in the twentieth century. He inspired many talented men and women to enter public service and he leaves a lasting legacy of extraordinary service to the citizens of Louisiana. He dedicated his life to building alliances and to improving the quality of life for the people of Louisiana. He used his power in state politics to push for reforms in education and health care, to fight against discrimination in employment and housing, and to advocate on behalf of underprivileged citizens. To his family he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle who will be dearly missed. Left to cherish his memory are his devoted wife of twenty-one years, Glenda Hurst Jackson of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; daughters, Lydia P. Jackson and Angela E. Jackson of Shreveport, Louisiana; stepdaughter, Andrea M. Archie of Atlanta, Georgia; grandson, Jacobi D. Glenn of Atlanta, Georgia; sister, Olive "Ollie" Gibson of Shreveport, Louisiana and father-in-law, Norbert Hurst of New Roads, Louisiana. He is also survived by his former wife, Rubye H. Jackson, the mother of Lydia and Angela, and a host of nieces and nephews who loved their "Uncle Jack". He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Anola and Sam Beaner; parents, Mattie and Alphonse Jackson, Sr.; brother, Samuel L. Jackson; sisters, Shirley Jackson Minor and Gloria G. Jackson; and stepson, James R. Archie II. Visitation will be on Saturday, December 27, 2014 at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 185 Eddie Robinson, Sr. Drive, Baton Rouge, Louisiana at 8 a.m. until funeral services commence at 11 a.m. The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Omega Service will begin at 10 a.m. Interment with military honors will follow at Southern Memorial Gardens, 3012 Blount Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pallbearers will be C. J. Blache, Bradford Edwards, Charles D. Jones, Darryl Minor, Marcus Minor, and Christopher A. Tyson. Honorary pallbearers will be Ervin Archie, Lezli Baskerville, George Lee Beaner, Dr. Joseph Braud, Rose Forrest, Brandon Hudson, Frantz Lubin, Don McKenzie, Harry Minor, Christopher Pilley and Harold B. Porter. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area, 3772 North Boulevard, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806.
Published in TheAdvocate.com from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27, 2014
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