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The Honorable Dorothy Jackson

Maker interview details

Profile image of The Honorable Dorothy Jackson
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Knight Foundation


  • August 1, 2002


  • Category: PoliticalMakers
  • Occupation(s): Civic Activist
    City Government Official


  • Born: November 9, 1933
  • Birth Location: Akron, Ohio


  • Favorite Food: Dessert
  • Favorite Time of Year: Fall
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Vienna, Austria

Favorite Quote

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as the eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
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Dorothy Ola Jackson stands as a respected pillar of the Ohio political landscape. Just prior to her birth, her family uprooted itself from dustbowl-ravaged Oklahoma to settle in Akron, Ohio. Born in Akron, on November 9, 1933, Dorothy was the youngest of seven children. She attended Akron's Robinson Elementary School and East High, where she graduated in 1951.

After high school, Jackson worked in a local grocery store and attended night classes at the Actual Business College. Forced to quit her job and drop out of classes when her mother became ill, Dorothy spent the subsequent four years caring for her mother, who died in 1952, and brother, who died in 1956. Following the sudden death of her father in 1957 from a fatal heart attack, Dorothy took a position as a secretary for the Goodwill Industries. While working with the Goodwill, Jackson learned sign language and worked to assist disabled workers. It was during this time that Jackson developed a deep sense of dedication to issues that concerned the disabled. She quickly rose through the ranks from secretary to assistant public relations director.

After twelve years with Goodwill, Jackson left to begin her sixteen-year career with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority as the social and tenant services administrator. By working to bring programs of fun and education to the residents, and providing a high level of personalized tenant care Jackson transformed the agency. She understood that providing housing was only the first step, providing a sense of community was the next. In 1984, Jackson was nominated for deputy mayor for the City of Akron.

In her role as deputy mayor, Jackson has been a tireless social activist. She has given her voice and support to issues that concern the poor and disabled. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Women in History Week Woman of the Year, the United Way Distinguished Service Award and the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award.

Jackson passed away on October 24, 2021.

Previews from the Digital Archive


Watch the full interview in the Digital Archive