Gertrude Jackson, who has been a diligent advocate for civil right for the past 60 years, will receive an honorary degree at the fall commencement ceremonies of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
As a young girl, Jackson had to walk nine miles a day to attend a one-room school for Black children. She later went to a segregated high school for Black students that held classes only through the 10th grade. In the early 1960s, Jackson and her husband provided a place for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to hold meetings in their rural Arkansas community. They later led a boycott of schools and won a class action lawsuit that led to the racial desegregation of the county’s schools.
Joel E. Anderson, chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, stated, “Unsung activists like Ms. Jackson are often the lifeblood of impoverished Arkansas Delta communities in helping to sustain daily life. The award of an honorary degree recognizes the contributions of Jackson and other women like her whose efforts are significant yet all too often sidelined because they remain out of the headlines and out of sight.”