“Mr. East Point”, James Louis Jackson was born on April 18, 1926, in Griffin, Georgia. Jackson‘s parents Ola Mae Meadows and R.V. Jackson separated, and Jackson’s mother raised him in predominantly black East Point, Georgia. Jackson attended Bayard Street Elementary School and Booker T. Washington High School, before volunteering for the United States Army at age sixteen in 1942. Serving in France as a member of the 4253rd Quartermaster Truck Company, Jackson became part of the celebrated Red Ball Express. Obtaining the rank of Tech Sergeant, Jackson returned to East Point, Georgia in 1946.
In 1947, Jackson was hired as a mechanic’s helper at the United States Army Depot and would work as a mechanic or driver for the federal government until his retirement twenty-seven years later. Certified as a Lay Parish Associate of the United Methodist Church, Jackson was a member of East Point’s Mallalieu United Methodist Church for over sixty-nine years. Jackson also served as chairperson of the East Point Community Relations Commission; president of Mallalieu United Methodist Men and the Atlanta-College Park District United Methodist Men; president of the South Fulton Boosters Association of East Point; and president of the Gus Thornhill Scholarship Committee. Jackson was member of the East Point Housing Review Board; the Ethnic Minority Local Church Committee; the Department of Political and Human Rights; and the general boards of Laity, Discipleship, Church and Society.
Jackson was a recipient of the East Point Community Relations Distinguished Service Award in 1979, and both the George C. Burnett Citizen of the Year Award, and a life membership in the United Methodists Men in 1984. In 1996, the United Methodist Church’s Atlanta-College Park designated an official James L. Jackson Day. In 2002, East Point Mayor Patsy Jo Hilliard announced the opening of the James L. Jackson Pedestrian Community Foot Bridge, which spans two hundred ten feet and crosses six railroad tracks and the MARTA Line.
Jackson has had two children and five grandchildren with his wife, Gladys Phillips Jackson.