Descriptive inventory for the Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1, 1925-1991

Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1

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Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1, 1925-1991

Prepared by Archie Motley and Pearl Slaton, 1994; rev. by Matt Krc; rev. by Tanya Calvin, 2019
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Instructions for accessing this collection

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1, 1925-1991 (inclusive)
Creators: Joseph Harrison Jackson
National Baptist Convention of the United States of America
Dates: 1925-1991 (inclusive)
Accession number: 1992.0036 and later
Bib number: 00066821
Call number: MSS Lot J
Size: ca. 40 linear feet (86 boxes)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of the estate of Joseph Harrison Jackson; the Rev. Jackson's widow, Maude Thelma Jackson, and his daughter, Prof. Kenny J. Williams; and the estate of Kenny J. Williams (1992.0036 and later).

Terms governing use:

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Please cite this collection as:

Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1 (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

Related materials at the Chicago History Museum, Research Center include: photos related to Rev. L. K. Williams are found in other collections at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, including Morris Williams family photograph collection (1995.0275) and the Photographs of family and friends of J. LeVelle Williams (1996.0076 ). Other collections related to Olivet Baptist Church include the history of Olivet Baptist Church of Chicago: a saga of a people [videorecording] (call #: 2001.0255 V); the Olivet Baptist Church records; the Rev. J.H. Jackson visual materials (2009.0056.2); the Olivet Baptist Church photograph collection (2000.0196); Rev. J.H. Jackson and Olivet Baptist Church architectural drawings (2009.0056); correspondence in the Claude A. Barnett papers; and publications by the Rev. J.H. Jackson, cataloged separately.

Related materials at the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection, Chicago Public Library, include the Rev. Floyd and Sweetie Johnson Papers/Zion Temple Baptist Church Records.

Separated material:

Separated collections at the Chicago History Museum include the Rev. J. H. Jackson visual materials.

Collection Summary +/-

Part 1 contains texts of many sermons and speeches and other writings, 1928-1988; notes for sermons; correspondence, programs, and planning papers; university and divinity school papers; and topical files of Rev. J. H. Jackson relating primarily to his leadership as pastor of Olivet Baptist Church, Chicago, 1941-1990, and president, 1953-1982, of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc., the largest African American religious denomination. Topics include theological, social, and political issues; the annual sessions of the National Baptist Convention and related organizations, including the controversial 1982 session; Jackson's speaking engagements and travel; his participation in ecumenical national and international organizations; and small amounts of material on Jackson's conservative approach to the civil rights movement and other African American leaders in the 1960s. The collection also includes a few university papers, 1920s-1930s, of Jackson's wife, Maude Thelma Jackson.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Reverend Joseph Harrison Jackson was born in Mississippi in 1900, where he grew up before graduating from Jackson State University. Jackson went on to graduate school at Creighton University for education and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School for theology, later completing further graduate studies at the University of Chicago. When he moved north to Chicago, Jackson joined Olivet Baptist Church, a historic Black church in the Bronzeville community on the south side of Chicago that once boasted a 20,000-member congregation, then the largest protestant church in the world. The influx of Black people into Chicago during the Great Migration caused this great increase of the Olivet community and the church, in turn, provided many resources that helped Black people settle into the city. As head pastor of Olivet starting in 1941, Jackson promoted the church’s principles of fair education and housing for Black people in Chicago. The J. H. Jackson Education Building opened in 1962 and housed a fully-staffed daycare center until its closing in the late 1980s. Jackson had international influence and traveled extensively to different countries across the globe, namely Russia, England, and several countries in the Middle East. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Jackson also served on the Central Committee of World Council of Churches.

Jackson was president of the National Baptist Convention for 30 years and had a significant impact on the convention’s goals and tactics to achieve social change for the Black community in the United States. Although Jackson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. agreed on the fundamental belief that Black people in the U.S. need to achieve social and economic change, they disagreed greatly on how to do so. While King, also a member of the National Baptist Convention, promoted the tactic of civil disobedience as a means of liberation, Jackson adamantly rejected this praxis and encouraged voting to change oppressive, racist systems from within. Eventually, the disagreement affected the NBC in its entirety and led to the split between the National Baptist Convention into a separate Progressive National Baptist Convention in 1961. Jackson continued his presidency of the NBC as a conservative civil rights leader until his death in 1990, caused by illness. He was survived by his wife, Maude Thelma Jackson, and his daughter, Dr. Kenny Jackson Williams, both since deceased.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

African American Baptists--United States--20th century
African American clergy--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
African Americans--20th century
African Americans--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
African Americans--Religion--20th century
Jackson, J. H. (Joseph Harrison), 1900-1990--Archives
Jackson, Maude Thelma
National Baptist Convention of the United States of America--Archives
Olivet Baptist Church (Chicago, Ill.)--Clergy
Manuscripts for publication
Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations--20th century
Chicago (Ill.)--Religious life and customs--20th century
Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--20th century
South Side (Chicago, Ill.)

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in twelve series.

The sermons are filed in five subseries, some of which are chronological and some of which are alphabetical. The sermons in each subseries are unique; a sermon filed by date in subseries 1 is not duplicated by a sermon filed in subseries 4 under a similar date or by a sermon filed alphabetically by title in the other subseries.

Some sermons are labeled with the date(s) on which they were preached by Rev. Jackson. In the two subseries of sermons arranged alphabetically by title, the file-order ignores "A," "An," and "The" at the beginning of a title.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Biographical information and university papers, 1925-1945 (boxes 1-6)
Series 2. Olivet Baptist Church served by Rev. J. H. Jackson, 1941-1990 (boxes 7-8)
Series 3. Correspondence, 1930-1991 (boxes 9-11)
Series 4. Financial records, undated (boxes 12-13)
Series 5. Missions, undated (boxes 14, 55)
Series 6. Organizations, 1929-1990 (boxes 14-28)
Series 7. Publications, 1930-1989 (boxes 29-31)
Series 8. Sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, 1928-1988 (boxes 32-54, 78-84)
Subseries 1. Sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, by date, 1928-1988 (boxes 32-44)
Subseries 2. Sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, by title, undated (boxes 45-53)
Subseries 3. Sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, untitled and undated (box 54)
Subseries 4. More sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, by date, 1934-1988 (boxes 78-81)
Subseries 5. More sermons by Rev. J.H. Jackson, filed alphabetically by title, undated (boxes 82-84)
Series 9. Sermon notes by Rev. J.H. Jackson, undated (boxes 56-60)
Series 10. Speeches and writings, 1932-1987 (boxes 61-65)
Series 11. Topical files, undated (boxes 66-75)
Series 12. Travel and personalities, 1930-1990 (boxes 76-77)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Tanya Calvin using Oxygen editor, 2019; ed. by Julie Wroblewski, 2020
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids:

A finding aid for the Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 2, also exists.

Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.

Processing Note:A small amount of materials were processed into the collection in 2019 during updates to the finding aid.
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