In this edition of From the Vault we look at one of the early actions of the Civil Rights Movement, as a 23-year-old Joseph Jackson, Jr. decided to challenge the Jim Crow laws in 1961, in Jackson, Mississippi. Joseph Jackson, Jr. was elected Youth Council President for the local chapter of the NAACP while he was a student at Tougaloo College, the all-Black Christian school in Jackson, Mississippi; he and his fellow students wanted to do something about the racist laws still on the books throughout the South, and after much thought they agreed on a plan of action. On March 27th, 1961 Jackson, Jr. and eight other students – Meredith Anding, Samuel Bradford, Alfred Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Albert Lassiter, Evelyn Pierce and Ethel Sawyer – went into the white-only Jackson Public Library to do research for their school papers. National attention, and eventually a national dialogue would be the result.
On May 31, 2015, from his home in Southern California, a now 78-year-old Jackson, Jr. sat down with From the Vault producer Gabriel San Roman to reflect back on those early days growing up in the South and his efforts to end racial segregation. We now present that interview.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.
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