Historynotes HISTORY NOTES: JOHN GLOVER JACKSON (1907-1993
- Happy New Year and We Wish You Blessings for a Peaceful 1999,
for "Runoko Rashidis History Notes"
Subject: HISTORY NOTES: JOHN GLOVER JACKSON (1907-1993)
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 20:08:02 -0600
From: Rrashidi <rrashidi@...>
THE GLOBAL AFRICAN COMMUNITY HISTORY NOTES
PROFESSOR JOHN GLOVER JACKSON (1907-1993): HUMANIST AND PIONEER TO THE
BY RUNOKO RASHIDI*
John Glover Jackson, one of our greatest cultural historians, was born
on April 1, 1907 in Aiken, South Carolina. Jokingly, he would sometimes
tell me: "Runoko, I was born on April Fool's Day and I've been a fool
ever since!" At the age of fifteen he moved to Harlem, New York, where
he entered Stuyvesant High School. During his student days Jackson
began to engage in indepth historical research and was soon writing
short essays about African-American history and culture. These essays
were so impressive that in 1925, while still a high school student,
Jackson was invited to write articles for the Honorable Marcus Garvey's
newspaper, the Negro World.
In addition to his growing activities as a writer, in 1930 Jackson
became a lecturer at both the Ingersoll Forum and the Harlem Unitarian
Church. Among his teachers and associates during this formative phase
of his life were Hubert Henry Harrison (whom Jackson would later refer
to as the "Black Socrates"), Arthur Alfonso Schomburg (founder of the
Schomburg Library in New York), Joel Augustus Rogers (one of the
greatest historians and journalists of the twentieth century) and Dr.
Willis Nathaniel Huggins (a brilliant historian and ardent
In 1932 young Jackson became the Associate Director of the Blyden
Society. Named after the outstanding race leader of the nineteenth
century, Edward Wilmot Blyden, the Blyden Society performed an
outstanding role as an African-American support group for Ethiopia after
Italy's brutal 1935 African invasion. Among the very early and, as
Jackson was quick to point out, most talented students to come out of
the Blyden Society is the now highly respected and almost venerated Dr.
John Henrik Clarke.
Although these were difficult years for John Jackson, with
race-prejudice, poverty and illness his frequent companions, he
continued to produce well-researched, informative and controversial
works. In 1934 Jackson coauthored with Dr. Huggins A Guide to the Study
of African History. In 1937, also with Dr. Huggins, he wrote
Introduction to African Civilizations. In 1939 he authored Ethiopia and
the Origin of Civilization, and Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth in
1941. His insightful literary contributions to The Truthseeker Magazine
continued regularly from 1930 until 1955.
Beginning in the 1970s John Glover Jackson produced several major
books. These works include Man, God, and Civilization in 1972,
Introduction to African Civilizations in 1974, Christianity Before
Christ in 1985, and Ages of Gold and Silver in 1990. Professor Jackson,
one of the most remarkable scholars of our time, taught and lectured at
colleges and universities throughout the United States and resided
during his last years in southside Chicago, Illnois. John Glover
Jackson joined the ancestors October 13, 1993.
John Glover Jackson was one of the major influences in my life, and I
was blessed to know him personally. I met Professor Jackson for the
first time in 1982 while working at Compton College. After our initial
encounter, we were to spend many hours on the phone and in person
dissecting history, scholarship and politics. The twilight years of his
life were spent in a nursing home in southside Chicago. He remains one
of my great heroes.
*Runoko Rashidi is an historian, writer and public speaker currently
coordinating an educational tour to India entitled "Looking at India
through African Eyes" scheduled for March 26 through April 12, 1999. To
contact Rashidi email RRashidi@... or call (210) 648-5178.
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