Librarian Andrew P. Jackson was born on January 28, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York to Bessie Lindsey Jackson and Walter Luther Jackson, Sr. Jackson graduated from Forest Hills High School in the East Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens, New York, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1964. After receiving the bronze star for his service with the 4th Air Commando Squadron in Vietnam, Jackson was honorably discharged in 1968. He then completed several semesters at Bernard M. Baruch College in Manhattan, before working for the New York City Human Resources Administration and the Agency for Child Development. Jackson went on to complete his B.S. degree in business administration at York College (CUNY) in 1990, and his M.L.S. degree from Queens College in 1996. He also earned his public librarian’s professional certificate from the University of the State of New York Education Department in 1996.
In 1976, Jackson moved to California, where he worked as a car salesman. He later returned to Queens, where he was hired at the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center. In 1980, he was promoted to executive director of the center. Under his leadership, the Langston Hughes Library established a partnership with the Queens Public Library in 1986. In 2001, Jackson became an adjunct professor at his alma mater, York College (CUNY). He was appointed vice president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) in 2002, serving as president of the Black Caucus from 2004 to 2006. Jackson also worked as a training, operations, and development consultant for the Roosevelt Public Library System; and in 2007, he became an adjunct professor at Queens College. Jackson authored the book Queens Notes: Facts About the Forgotten Borough of Queens, New York, and co-edited The Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges of the 21st Century. In 2016, Jackson retired from his position as executive director at the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center.
Jackson received numerous awards and accolades, including the Governor’s Award for African Americans of Distinction in 1994, the Literacy Advocacy Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in 1999 and a Professional Achievement Award from the BCALA in 2007. From 1997 to 2010, Jackson served on the executive board of the BCALA as well as on the board of directors for Queens Public Television and the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights.
Andrew P. Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2018.