Portland YWCA and World War II

Document 1

Document 2

Aid to Women

Interracial Charter

Youth on the Move


Marjorie Jackson

Research by Patricia A. Schechter

Marjorie Jackson

Downtown Staff, c. 1947
Marjorie Jackson is seated
in the center front
       Marjorie H. Jackson served the YWCA of Portland for three and a half years, and in that time, she made history. Jackson was the first African-American woman in the country to hold the position of associate executive director of a city YWCA. Jackson was well-prepared for her assignment, having extensive experience and training before coming to Portland in 1946. Born in Texas, she graduated from Bishop College in Dallas and did graduate study at the University of Chicago. Returning to Dallas after her studies, she worked as a teacher of English at the high school and college levels and did professional social work focusing on youth. Right before coming to Portland, Jackson had been executive director of a YWCA in Wilmington, Delaware for six years, in a center that was jointly operated with the YMCA. In Portland, she initially served the YWCA as a "consultant on interracial matters" and youth remained a strong focus of her interest. She soon organized interracial clubs for working women, both "business" and "industrial" girls. Under Jackson's leadership, according to one board member, "marked progress has been made in creating a wholesome relationship and in developing understanding between staff, volunteers, members, and the community."[1] The appointment of Essie L. Maguire as executive director of the Portland YWCA seemed to create difficulties for Jackson. These difficulties, combined with an opportunity to return to Texas as director of the Pinestreet Branch YWCA in San Antonio, apparently lead to Jackson's resignation in early 1949.[2]

1. "YWCA Names Mrs. Jackson to Associate Director Post," clipping, c. 1946, Portland YWCA Archives, Portland, Oregon. "YWCA Official Resigns Post," The Oregonian, 11 February 1949.
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2. On tensions between Jackson and Maguire, who joined the staff as Executive Director in 1946, see "Reports and Progress, 1943-1949," in which numerous memos between Maguire and Jackson indicate communication difficulties and tensions over dividing and sharing responsibilities. Box C, Portland YWCA Archives, Portland, Oregon.
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