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Ida Louise Jackson, Education Pioneer

Ida Louise Jackson (1902-1996)The March 11 campaign kickoff event will take place at the home of Ida Louise Jackson, at 1210 Excelsior Avenue in Oakland.  Ida Louise Jackson was an education pioneer.  

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 there obtained her Doctorate.Ida Jackson's house at 1210 Excelsior Avenue

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 family's ranch to U.C. Berkeley, specifying that the proceeds of its sale be used as graduate fellowships for black students pursuing degrees there.Bedroom in Ida Jackson house

Dr. Ida Louise Jackson died in Oakland at the age of 93, in 1996.  

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 facts about Ida Louise Jackson:

  • A residence hall at UC Berkeley is named after her.  
  • She was awarded the Berkeley Citation by UC Berkeley in 1971.
  • She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.Part of Ida Jackson's Library
  • She was the first black teacher in the Oakland public schools; she taught at Prescott Intermediate school for 15 years and then at McClymonds High School.
  • She served as Dean of Women at Tuskegee Institute and met Professor George Washington Carver.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited her twice to the White House.
  • She served as an Observer at the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

Her life story, published as Overcoming Barriers in Education, is available online here.


Map location of the house:

Map of Ida Jackson house location