Joseph Jackson Jr., the elder Anaheim resident who once risked being lynched to desegregate a public library in Jackson, Mississippi, is having his story told far and wide in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A member of the Tougaloo Nine, a group of NAACP college students that staged a sit-in plotted by Medgar Evers at the whites-only library, Jackson was recognized by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez on the House floor Tuesday morning. Calling Jackson “a resident of my hometown of Anaheim,” Sanchez said, “We honor Mr. Joseph Jackson Jr. and the Tougaloo Nine for the historic achievement, non-violent activism and their courage to advocate for a civil society.”
Jackson moved from his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee to Orange County in February 1968. He recalls shopping for groceries in Santa Ana a few months later on April 4, 1968 when the radio program playing overhead on loud speakers suddenly got interrupted. News broke of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Jackson’s hometown where he had been supporting black sanitation workers on strike. Word of King’s killing hit Jackson hard, whose family still remained in Memphis when it erupted in riots and curfews.
The much deserved and long overdue accolades for Jackson don’t stop in D.C. He’s an invited speaker for the fourth annual MiNDS Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service in Buena Park on Saturday. The event takes places from 9 a.m. to noon at the Giving Children Hope campus in the city. Food, toys, books and health services will be offered. Volunteers are also going to be helping folk get enrolled in health insurance through Covered California.
“For me the MLK day has become more than just a day of service or a track to inspire volunteerism,” said Dr. Faisal Qazi, co-Founder and President of MiNDS in a press release. “It has become a response and a struggle to retain all that is good in our society and a fight against the marginalization of all people.”
The MiNDS Martin Luther King Jr. Day event is the largest in OC. With Martin and Medgar smiling down from above, Jackson will speak about Dr. King’s influence on his activism as well as the story of the Tougaloo Nine sit-in. If you’ve ever wanted to listen or meet a living civil rights movement icon, this is your chance!