Civil rights ‘historian’ dies

Published 8:00pm Monday, November 11, 2013

Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson, a woman whose Selma home was shared by civil rights pioneers, will be honored Wednesday.

Graveside services for Jackson will be held at Fairlawn Memory Garden Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. She died Sunday at the age of 81.

jeanjackson_forweb“I think she was very important, because of her legacy,” Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, Selma City Council member, said. “She served on this committee to help people understand that Selma is a beautiful place to live. She did a lot of work.”

Jackson, who lived on Lapsley Street, saw civil rights leaders such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and John Lewis stay at her home, which became an informal headquarters in 1965, months before the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Jackson wrote The House by the Side of the Road, a book that describes her experience and overall role in the civil rights movement.

“She was loved by the people and her neighbors,” Crenshaw said.

Selma University instructor Tammy Maul knew Jackson as her sixth grade teacher and neighbor.

“A lot of the older historians and educators are dying, but we need to try to surround ourselves by more people of that era who can pass that knowledge,” Maul said.

Maul said Jackson often shared her knowledge and African American history young people in her neighborhood.

“That’s how I want to remember her, being a historian for the young people,” she said.

Maul remembered the times Jackson would walk out of her house everyday check in on her neighbors, something she said she would miss.

“I’m just going to miss her presence,” Maul said. “I’m going to miss her coming out on that porch everyday waving and asking is everything and everybody okay.”

Crenshaw said she appreciates the sacrifices Jackson and her family made when they allowed civil rights leaders to temporarily use their home.

“I just want to say a special thank you to her and her family,” Crenshaw said.

In 2011, the Selma City Council presented Jackson with a plaque honoring her home as an affiliated site in the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historical Trail.

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