Ida Louise Jackson
Home Background History Local Animals Unusual Plants Restaurants Weather Patagonia


This is collected from web searches; the history of Alpha-Kappa-Alpha, and "Overcoming Barriers in Education" (an oral history conducted by Gabrielle Morris, published by the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley).

Ida Louise Jackson was born in 1902 in Vicksburg Mississippi, a daughter of a former slave.  She attended private schools before transferring to public schools as a sixth grader, graduating from Cherry Street High School in 1914, enrolling at Rust College, but transferred to New Orleans University (renamed Dillard University) and graduated in 1917 with a Normal Teaching Diploma and a certificate in home economics.  She moved to California, and after being told she was "unqualified" to teach here, she entered U.C. Berkeley in 1920, majoring in vocational guidance, counseling and education.  She graduated in 1922 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Her Master's degree was earned in 1923, also from Berkeley.  She attended Columbia University and obtained her Doctorate.

Dr. Jackson was a pioneering black woman; upon being hired by the city of Oakland in 1926 she became the first black public school teacher in California, instructing elementary and high school students in American History.  While a student at U.C. Berkeley in 1921 (one of 17 black students) she was an organizer and charter member of the U.C. Berkeley Rho Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha. With support from the sorority in 1934, she founded what became known as "Mississippi Health Project." for whom she was general director for the eight years of its operation.   Over 4,000 children and many adults were treated in these mobile clinics, which traveled from plantation to plantation throughout Mississippi.

In 1979 Dr. Jackson donated her ranch to U.C. Berkeley, specifying that the proceeds of its sale be used as graduate fellowships for black students pursuing degrees there.

Dr. Ida Louise Jackson died at the age of 93, in 1996 -- The year we first read about the ranch in the paper, and the year before we bought it.

Dr. Jackson's written works include Development of Negro Children in Reference to Education (1923) and Librarians' Role in Creating Racial Understanding (1944). She received the Who's Who Among Colored Americans award in 1950.

Other distinguished AKA members include:

Jane Addams - Founder of Hull House, Chicago, Illinois.

Maya Angelou - Renowned novelist and poet.

Angie Brookes - The first woman President of the United Nations.

Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke - Congresswoman from California and first woman to chair the Democratic National Convention.

Ella Fitzgerald - Internationally famous jazz singer. (There was a picture of young Ella on the wall when we toured the house; we now wonder if it was a personal gift, perhaps obtained at a AKA fund-raiser)

Dr. Mae Jemison - The first black woman astronaut.

Coretta Scott King - Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change and Civil Rights Activism.

Toni Morrison - Nobel Prize winning novelist and poet.

Rosa Parks - Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.

Eleanor Roosevelt - Former First Lady of the United States.

Sonia Sanchez - Noted author and poet.

C. Delores Tucker - National Chairman of the National political Congress of Black Women.

Leah Tutu - Wife of South African activist Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Diane Watson - The first black woman to preside over the California State Senate.

Faye Wattleton - The first woman to head the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Onward to Local Animals