Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biographical Sketch of Estelle C. Jackson, 1890-?

By Thomas Dublin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Binghamton University

Estelle C. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. and the first surviving newspaper record has E.C. Jackson graduating in 1903 as the valedictorian in Mrs. L.R. Clark's Training School for Dressmaking in the District. Beginning two years later, we see repeated newspaper reference to E.C. Jackson as an elementary school teacher.

A 1905 newspaper article noted her move from teaching first grade to second. In June 1925 she was noted as a teacher in the John F. Cook School. An entry in the 1930 federal census of DC recorded her as still a public school teacher. For all three of these listings to be the same person, Estelle would have had to begin teaching as a 15-year old, not implausible for a gifted student in the District's colored schools.

There is plenty of evidence for E. C. Jackson's activism in her teacher role. In 1911 she was active in a Parent-Teacher Association in the William Syphax School. In 1918 she was recorded as a founder and secretary of a newly launched group of grade school teachers. When a group pressed for Washington, D.C. residents' right to vote in school board elections in June 1919, Miss E. C. Jackson was recorded as representing the Washington Elementary Teachers' Union.

In February 1921, E. C. Jackson joined a delegation of 60 Black women suffragists, who protested violations of the recently ratified 19th Amendment in Southern states that denied Black women their voting rights. The delegation, headed by the NAACP field secretary, Addie W. Hunton, met with Alice Paul, head of the National Woman's Party (NWP) on the eve of the party's national convention. Their purpose was to press the NWP to pass a resolution calling on Congress to investigate the failures of Southern states to enforce the 19th Amendment for Black women. Paul made no such commitment and the convention as a whole refused to endorse the call.

We've not found a marriage or death record for Estelle C. Jackson, though her 1930 census entry does record her as married, though not living with a husband or children.

Sources:

Federal Manuscript Census, Estelle C. Jackson, Washington, D.C., 1930. Accessible online with Ancestry Library Edition.

List of NAACP Delegation Members to Alice Paul, 12 February 1921, NAACP Papers, Part 04 Voting Rights and Voting Rights Campaign, 1916-1950 (Feb. 8, 1921-April 3, 1921), frames 61-64, Library of Congress.

"Dressmakers Graduate," The Colored American (Washington, D.C.), 27 June 1903, p. 12.

Washington Times, 12 October 1905, p. 4.

Untitled, Washington Evening Star, 10 Dec. 1911, p. 32.

"Teachers Join Federation," Washington Evening Star, 2 July 1918, p. 2.

"To Get Vote on School Board," Washington Herald, 26 June 1919, p. 1.

"City's School Year Ends Today," Washington Evening Star, 17 June 1925, p. 14.

 

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