Myrna Jackson

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Myrna Jackson (born July 9, 1941 in Birmingham) is a former "foot soldier" in the 1963 Birmingham Campaign. She has worked as a cosmetologist, a substitute teacher, a social worker, an interim president of the Birmingham NAACP and a commissioner of the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District.

Myrna is the daughter of Willie George Carter and Willie Lee Ledger. She graduated from Parker High School in 1958.

During the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights' Birmingham Campaign, the 21-year-old Jackson volunteered to be trained as a non-violent demonstrator. On April 11, 1963, she was assigned by Andrew Young to march with one of two groups of demonstrators who proceeded, by different routes, from 16th Street Baptist Church to J. J. Newberry's department store on the northwest corner of 19th Street and 2nd Avenue North. While police arrested the members of the first group, her group succeeded in reaching the store, but were soon also arrested and brought to Birmingham City Jail. While the group was detained, an officer sang "Dixie" over the jail intercom. The demonstrators responded by singing "Oh, Freedom" together.

Jackson completed studies at the Barbara Durr Beauty College in Smithfield in 1965 and was licensed as a cosmetologist. She later attended Lawson State Community College and earned a substitute teacher certificate. She worked in Birmingham City Schools before taking jobs at Macy's and Parisian department stores.

Jackson completed a bachelor's degree in social work at Miles College in 2000 and was employed in workforce development projects relating to Hurricane Katrina. From there she joined the staff of Birmingham Works for Youth and campaigned for Shelia Smoot during her successful 2002 bid to join the Jefferson County Commission.

Mayor William Bell appointed Jackson to the Board of Commissioners for HABD. She served as interim president of the Birmingham NAACP in 2018.

References

  • Myrna Jackson oral history interview (May 1, 2017) The HistoryMakers
  • Harris-Turner, Sherea (October 2019) "Outgoing HABD Board of Commissioner Myrna Jackson - Retired social worker and foot

solider of the civil rights movement." Housing Authority of the Birmingham District press release