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James E. and Esther Cooper Jackson are African American communists and civil rights activists, best known for their role in founding and leading the Southern Negro Youth Congress (1937-48).
The papers contain clippings (articles by and about Jackson), correspondence of both Esther and James Jackson, including the Jacksons’ voluminous World War II correspondence with each other, James Jackson’s lectures (typescripts and audiocassettes), research notebooks, speeches, and writings (published and unpublished), subject files, correspondence, internal documents and printed ephemera pertaining to the Southern Negro Youth Congress, and to Freedomways, legal and other materials pertaining to the Smith Act indictments of Jackson and other communists, Communist Party internal documents, many of a programmatic nature, and memorabilia and other biographical materials. Individuals represented in the collection include: Carl Bloice, Lloyd Brown, Dorothy and Louis Burnham, Angela Davis, Benjamin Davis, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Eugene and Peggy Dennis, Shirley Graham Du Bois, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Duberman, Viriginia Durr, William Z. Foster, Simon Gerson, Gus Hall, Ollie Harrington, Hosea Hudson, Alphaeus Hunton, Pablo Neruda, John Pittman, Pete Seeger, Edward Strong, Alice Walker, Mary Helen Washington, Jim West, Robert Williams, Henry Winston, and Carl Winter.