This Day (Freedom at Monticello Edition)

Published:July 11, 2011 by Brendan Wolfe

Happy birthday to Luther Porter Jackson, who was born on this day in 1892. We forgive him for being out of state at the time. By 1922, though, he had married Johnella Frazer, a music teacher at Virginia State in Petersburg, and he took a job there himself, keeping it until his death in 1950. During those years he became a historian of some note, mentoring under Carter G. Woodson and writing about black life in antebellum Virginia. He also became a leader in Virginia’s civil rights movement, working on getting out the black vote and equalizing black and white teachers’ salaries.

According to our entry, Jackson’s “defining moment as a socially engaged academic came in November 1948, when he played a key role in organizing a conference that signed a declaration on civil rights at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, an appropriate symbol of the American contradiction of slavery and freedom. Fifty leading southern activists gathered there to sign a document that called for ‘freedom from any discrimination bounded by law.'”

IMAGE: Luther Porter Jackson (Richmond Times-Dispatch)