Descriptive inventory for the Rev. J. H. Jackson visual materials, ca. 1920-1986

Rev. J. H. Jackson visual materials

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Descriptive inventory for the Rev. J. H. Jackson visual materials, ca. 1920-1986

Prepared by Tanya Calvin, 2019; ed. by Julie Wroblewski 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 visual materials, circa 1920-1986 (inclusive)
Creators: Joseph Harrison Jackson
National Baptist Convention of the United States of America
Dates: circa 1920-1986 (inclusive)
Accession number: 2009.0056
Bib number: 00235510
Call numbers: 2009.0056 PPL
2009.0056 PCLF
2009.0056 PSM
Size: 3.5 linear feet, including approximately 600 b&w photographs and 400 color photographs (7 boxes, 3 folders)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of the estate of Kenny J. Williams (2009.0056).

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.


Advance appointment required to view color material in cold storage or negatives in cool storage; please email

Please cite this collection as:

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

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

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 Rev. J. H. Jackson papers, part 1 and part 2; the Olivet Baptist Church records; 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.

Separated material:

Separated materials at the Chicago History Museum, Research Center, includes the Reverend J. H. Jackson papers, part 1 and part 2, which also contain some photographic materials.

Collection Summary +/-

The Rev. J. H. Jackson visual materials contains black and white and color photographs and negatives from ca. 1920 until 1986. It contains special events Jackson attended and spoke at, including several of the Annual National Baptist Conventions and anniversary celebrations as pastor of Olivet Baptist Church, as well as Jackson with public figures such as former president Lyndon B. Johnson and former Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley. It also includes images of Rev. Jackson’s travels, family life, and small gatherings.

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--Religion--20th century
Daley, Richard J, 1902-1976
Jackson, J. H. (Joseph Harrison), 1900-1990--Archives
Jackson, Maude Thelma.
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994
Williams, Kenny J. (Kenny Jackson), 1927-2003.
National Baptist Convention of the United States of America--Archives
Olivet Baptist Church (Chicago, Ill.)--Clergy
Film negatives
Photographic prints
Photographic prints -- Color
Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations--20th century
Chicago (Ill.)--Religious life and customs--20th century
South Side (Chicago, Ill.)

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged in two series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Events, circa 1945-1979 (boxes 1-5)
Personal, circa 1920-1986 (boxes 6-7)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Tanya Calvin using Oxygen editor, 2019; ed. by Julie Wroblewski, 2019.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Processing Note:The Rev. J. H. Jackson collection of visual materials was processed with support from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Robert Frederick Smith Fund.
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