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*The birth of Fay Jackson is celebrated on this date in 1902. She was a Black journalist and movie publicist.
Jackson was born in Dallas, Texas, as the youngest of three children to Charles T. and Lulu Beatrice Jackson. Her father was a concrete mason and chemical scientist, and her mother was a seamstress and actress. At the age of 16, her family moved to Los Angeles. In 1922, Jackson graduated from Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, attended USC, majored in journalism and philosophy, and was the first president of the Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
Jackson founded Flash in the late 1920s, the first Black news magazine on the West Coast, and during the 1930s, she became the first black Hollywood correspondent with the Associated Negro Press (ANP). Her persuasive personality easily had her mingling with celebrities. Jackson was one of the few African American journalists allowed access to major film studios. Her column appeared in 216 Black newspapers across America, and she used her influence to help black women find jobs.
In 1937, the ANP sent Jackson to London to cover the coronation of King George VI. She sent back interviews with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, performer Josephine Baker, H.G. Wells, and Alberta Hunter. In 1940, she started the California News, a Black weekly newspaper. Jackson also wrote for the California Eagle when Charlotta Bass, editor of the Black-owned and -operated newspaper, saw her talent and brought her on board as a political editor. Jackson worked with the U.S. War Department against the inadequate housing provided for minorities.
Through all the prosperity of journalism, her devotion to spirituality as a devout Catholic shaped Jackson's philosophies on life. She studied the life of St. Francis of Assisi and his teachings of living a life of service without reward. Jackson used her position to counter the prejudice and discrimination toward African Americans with her stories and photographs, which shed a positive light on their achievements.
Jackson demanded respect and sought to maintain integrity in a male-dominated profession. Ahead of her time, Jackson quickly learned to be a "no-nonsense" businesswoman. Fay Jackson died in 1979.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York