Ida O. Jackson
When Mrs. Ida O. Jackson, who was unable to find a teaching job in Waco, Texas, arrived in Clovis in 1926, schools were still segregated. The African-American community in Clovis had earlier appropriated rooms in a local Baptist church to create a school for black children, and Jackson accepted a teaching position at the school. Initially, she taught only two students, but that number steadily grew, in part from Jackson’s own efforts to encourage students to attend school. The location also changed to a second church.
In History of Hope: The African American Experience in New Mexico,
Baton notes, “Black women, more so than white women, have always found it necessary to work outside the home.” She further notes that black women worked largely “in the categories of domestic and personal services, [but] there were also a number listed [in the census] under teachers, trained nurses, housekeepers, restaurant, chef and lunch room keepers, dressmakers and seamstresses, musicians, and teachers of music.” (Baton)
Jackson remained at the school for several years. Quoting from “Roadside New Mexico” by David Pike:
[Students were soon] treated to their own small, one-room schoolhouse, which joined the Clovis school system as the Lincoln-Jackson School. The name honored both President Abraham Lincoln and also the sole teacher at the school at the time, Ida O. Jackson. The Clovis school, which in 1935 had thirty-five students, was one of a handful of segregated schools in New Mexico (others existed in communities where the black population was large enough to support them, including Las Cruces, Hobbs, Carlsbad, Roswell, and Alamogordo).
As the number of enrolled students grew, so did the need to augment the teaching staff, and by 1944, Ida Jackson was joined by two other faculty members. In 1950, the first class of three students graduated. Growth continued, and a few years later, new brick buildings were built to serve the school.
But in 1954, the history of the school changed. On May 17 of that year, the Supreme Court decided the case of Brown v. Board of Education, declaring that the practice of “separate but equal” education—which allowed black students to be educated in segregated schools, provided the education was equal in quality to that of white students—was in fact a violation of the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment and therefore unconstitutional.
As a result, Lincoln-Jackson stopped offering high-school level classes, and students were integrated into other Clovis public schools. Lincoln-Jackson now served exclusively as an elementary school, offering classes to students of all races.” (Pike)
Today, the former school building operates as the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center, and is no longer a school.
Mock fills in additional details of Jackson’s personal life, stating that she moved to Clovis in 1926 from her birthplace in Waco, Texas, after her husband (who remained in Texas) became chronically ill. She notes that Jackson often offered housing to people in need at her own house in Clovis, and she taught Sunday School. (Mock 1985) Jackson used her house as the location to help launch the Federated Progressive Club, a social club for black women. It, and other clubs like it, “served as a source of funds for community improvement as well as a place to get together.” (Baton)
Albuquerque Human Rights Office. Reflections on Black Heritage in New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: Department of Family and Community Services, n.d.
Baton, Maisha, Ph.D., “New Mexico’s Black Women,” in History of Hope: The African American Experience in New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: Albuquerque Museum, 1996.
Glasrud, Bruce A, Ed. African American History in New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2013.
McAlavy, Don. High Plains History of East-Central New Mexico. [Clovis?, NM]: High Plains Historical Press, [1980?].
Mock, Charlotte K. Bridges: New Mexico Black Women, 1900-1950. Albuquerque, NM: New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women, 1985.
History of Lincoln-Jackson School, on the website of the Lincoln-Jackson Family Center. http://www.clovis-schools.org/lincolnjackson/about_lincoln-jackson.html Accessed May 11, 2014.