Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson


Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson was born on February 24, 1932 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She earned a BS degree in Sociology in 1953 and a Masters of Science in Sociology in 1955, both from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She completed her PhD at Ohio State University in 1960. From 1959 to 1962, she served as an Assistant Professor and Associate at Southern University-Baton Rouge. She left this position In 1962 and worked as a Professor at Jackson State College until 1964. She then joined the Howard University faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1964 and served there as a full Professor from 1978 until 1985. Dr. Jackson also worked from 1969 onward as a Visiting Professor at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, NC.

She came to Duke in 1966 as a Postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. She then joined the Duke faculty as a Medical Sociologist in the Department of Psychiarty and served as an Associate Professor of Medical Sociology. Dr. Jackson received tenure in 1971 and was the first tenured black female faculty member in the Duke School of Medicine. She served as a Professor at Duke until 1998, when she retired with Emeritus status.

De. Jackson was a national expert in aging and a pioneer in the study of aging in Black Americans. Her first important work was her doctoral dissertation, published in 1962 as These Rights They Seek (Washington: Public Affairs Press). Her emphasis was on the unique needs of the older black population and the importance of government involvement in meeting those needs. Her subsequent work, Minorities and Aging (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Co., 1980), echoed this theme though the content was expanded to include other minority groups. At the time it was considered the most complete work on minority aging.

Her first priority in the late 1960s was to point to the lack of empirical data on the black elderly that could be used to direct research and policy. See “Social Gerontology and the Negro: A review,” *Gerontology, 7(1967): 168-78. To help fill this gap, she began research on older black women, finding that in the aggregate, black women faced an exacerbation of problems seen earlier in life as a result of racism, economics, and isolation.

An activist in the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Jackson has addressed race-based affirmative action, the bell curve, and the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas controversy of 1991 as scholarly works. In addition to voluminous research and publications, she served in a number of organizations including:

  • Board of Eirectors of the Carver Research Foundation of Tuskegee (1970 to 1987)
  • Director of the National Council on Black Aging
  • President of the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists
  • Chair of the Caucus of Black Sociologists
  • Board of the National Council on Aging
  • Fellow: National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, John Hay Whitney
  • Memberships: American Sociologist Association, Southern Sociological Society, Gerontological Society of America, and the National Council on Family Relations
  • Awards: American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Black Sociologists, and Ohio State University

Dr. Jackson died on January 28, 2004 of pancreatic cancer in Stillwell, Kansas.