Lester Kendel Jackson, minister and civil rights leader, dies.
1977 (Mar 3)
Lester Kendel Jackson, minister and civil rights leader, died in Chicago, Illinois. Jackson, the son of tenant farmers, was born in Fort Gaines, Georgia, in 1895. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree at the Virginia Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. Jackson pastored Baptist churches in Hollins, Lynchburg, and Danville, Virginia; Passaic and Long Branch, New Jersey; and Gary, Indiana. At the time of his death, he was the pastor of the St. Paul Baptist Church in Gary. All totaled, he spent fifty-five years of life in the Christian ministry. Jackson also served as executive secretary of the Hunter Branch YMCA in Lynchburg, Va., professor of religious education, educational secretary and general manager, and trustee of Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of Churches in the United States. Jackson was a leader of civil rights protests in both Long Branch, New Jersey, and Gary, Indiana. His activities in Long Branch resulted in a court decision that permitted Blacks to bathe on local beaches, and his work in Gary, Indiana led to the hiring of hundreds of Blacks by banks, savings and loan associations, and public utilities companies. In September 1973, more than 250 people, including the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., father of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., attended a tribute for Jackson in Indiana. Jackson called that occasion "the most joyful moment” in his life.