Edna Branch Jackson grew up in the throes of segregation during the 1940’s in Savannah. By the time she was nine years old, Jackson was attending NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) meetings, where she learned valuable lessons about civil rights, leadership, and nonviolent protest strategies.
She and other teenagers were arrested for sitting at a white lunch counter at stores such as Kress and Levy’s. Along with several other teens, she was arrested a second time for a “wade-in” at the beach on Tybee Island, which, like the lunch counters, was also off-limits to blacks. And, she experienced all of this before graduating from high school!
After graduating from Beach High, Jackson enrolled at Savannah State College, but after two years, went to Florida to work with the NAACP, teaching young people how to employ non-violent demonstration techniques.
She eventually returned to Savannah and completed her education at Savannah State College (now University), where she experienced an illustrious 30-year career serving in various capacities. Upon her retirement from Savannah State, she ran for the Savannah City Council, and was elected to the Alderman At-Large seat for District One, the first African-American female to hold this position.
After serving for four years on the City Council, she was re-elected for a sec- ond term, and was appointed as Mayor Pro Tempore, once again making history as the first female to ever hold this position.
Edna Branch Jackson has served the citizens of Savannah for most of her life, and is currently considering entering the race to become the next Mayor for the city of Savannah.
Excerpt courtesy of Savannah’s Black “First Ladies”, Vol. I.© in celebration of National Women’s History Month. For more information go t o www.outskirtspress.com.