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*Mae Jackson was born on this date in 1941. She was a Black social worker. Mae Allison Jackson was born in the east-central Texas town of Teague.
Despite the difficulties of growing up in a Jim Crow Southern town during the 1940s and 1950s, Jackson determined a successful course for her life. Jackson learned the value of education early. Her father worked as a school principal, and her mother was a teacher, with their encouragement. In 1958, Jackson graduated as valedictorian of her class at Booker T. Washington High School, and the following fall she left Teague, moving south to start college in Houston. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Texas Southern University.
After graduating from TSU in 1962, Jackson moved south to the city of San Antonio to continue her studies in graduate school at Our Lady of the Lake University. Jackson chose OLLU because of its master’s program in social work. Jackson had been drawn to the idea of serving others as a young girl and chose social work as her career. While Jackson studied to earn her Master of Social Work degree, the American Civil Rights movement took on more and more momentum. Inspired, Jackson moved to Washington, DC, to join the movement. There she started work with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW).
In 1957, the presidency of the NCNW had passed to another energetic black organizer, Dorothy Height. Height would become Jackson's mentor. In 2000, she joined the Waco city council 2000. She was elected mayor in May. 2004.
Mae Jackson made a name for herself as mayor of Waco, Texas. When she died suddenly on February 11, 2005, she left many friends and admirers stunned and grieving. Chet Edwards, Waco's Democratic representative to the state House of Representatives, voiced the feelings of many when he said, "Our city has lost a caring, dedicated leader, and many of us have lost a dear personal friend. Waco is a better community today because of Mae Jackson's unselfish public service, and for years to come, her warm spirit of loving thy neighbor will inspire all of us."
A social worker by profession, Jackson continually exceeded the duties of her job in her efforts to improve the society she lived in. An enthusiastic advocate of volunteer work, Jackson not only promoted volunteerism but also volunteered many hours of her own time to a wide variety of community organizations. As the first Black to be elected mayor of the City of Waco, Jackson proved to be an energetic and confident leader. Also, her straightforward honesty and generosity were an inspiration to those who knew and worked with her.