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Reverend Constance Jackson

Ordained minister and former City Commissioner for District One of Texas City, Texas Constance Jenell Jackson was born on September 9, 1960 in Wharton, Texas. Jackson comes from a family filled with ministers. Her paternal great-great grandfather, maternal great grandfather, grandfather, and uncle were all ministers. She is one of five children by the late Lewis B. Jackson, Sr., an educator and football coach, and Sweetie Beatrice Crawford Jackson, a retired mental health administrator. Jackson grew up in Pledger, Texas and attended Newgulf Elementary School, Iago Junior High, and graduated from Boling High School in 1979. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a B.A. degree in government.

During Jackson’s first semester at the University of Texas at Austin, she majored in pharmacy, but in her second semester, she changed her major to government when she discovered that Barbara Jordan was teaching at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She would subsequently secure an internship at the LBJ School, where she would be mentored by the late congresswoman. During Jackson’s childhood, Barbara Jordan’s uncle served as pastor of her church. After college and with her government degree, Jackson became involved in politics. In 1983, Jackson served as Texas Democratic Party’s assistant primary director and also served as fund-raising executive for Texas Commissioner Garry Mauro. In 1984, Jackson became Capitol Administrator to Texas State Senator Chet Brooks at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. In 1990, Jackson was promoted to District Administrator by Brooks to oversee his Harris and Galveston County district offices. Jackson worked for Senator Brooks for ten years in these capacities. In 1992, Jackson won a citywide election and became City Commissioner for District One of Texas City, Texas, making her the first African American woman ever elected to a city council position in the entire history of Galveston County.

In addition to her work as city commissioner of District One, Jackson served on the board of the Galveston County American Red Cross and started and supervised the Legislative Internship Program under the auspices of State Senator Chet Brooks.

In 1995, Jackson was involved in a nearly fatal car accident that changed the course of her life. In 1996, she was called to the ministry and in 2001 began her seminary matriculation at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

She served five terms as city commissioner and, in 2002, she retired from this position and became a full-time minister.

Accession Number

A2005.147

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

6/23/2005

8/3/2005

Last Name

Jackson

Marital Status

Single

Organizations
Schools

Boling High School

Newgulf Elementary School

Iago Junior High School

University of Texas at Austin

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Constance

Birth City, State, Country

Wharton

HM ID

JAC13

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lucerne, Switzerland

Favorite Quote

Don't Follow My Footsteps. Make Your Own Tracks.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/9/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

USA

Short Description

City commissioner and minister Reverend Constance Jackson (1960 - ) was a city legislator for District One of Texas City, TX

Employment

Gary Mauro's Texas Land Commissioner Campaign

Texas City, City Council

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Constance Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her mother's life in Cuero, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her father's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson recounts how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls how music influenced her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the African American community of Pledger, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls lessons from her family

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes pastimes from her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls Newgulf Elementary School in Newgulf, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Iago Junior High School in Iago, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls Boling High School in Boling, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes high school football in Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls her baptism

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her childhood church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls admiring Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Jordan during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls a lesson from Barbara Jordan, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls a lesson from Barbara Jordan, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about moral leadership in the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Barbara Jordan's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the expectations for female public figures

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes Garry Mauro's campaign for Texas land commissioner

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls being hired by Texas State Senator Chet Brooks, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls being hired by Texas State Senator Chet Brooks, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls campaigning for Chet Brooks in 1990, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls campaigning for Chet Brooks in 1990, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson remembers Wayne Johnson

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls opening a district office in Texas City, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her move to Texas City, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her decision to run for office

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes running for Texas City commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls her work as Texas City commissioner

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes challenges she faced as Texas City commissioner

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls founding the Carver Park Juneteenth celebration

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls how the Carver Park Juneteenth celebration grew

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes remodeling Carver Park's softball fields

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson explains why she retired from her commissionership

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson remembers being called to ministry

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the importance of seminary education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about practicing Christianity today

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Constance Jackson's interview, session two

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her first year in seminary

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about seminary education

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about black theology

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson recalls teachers who influenced her at the Interdenominational Theological Center

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about the challenges of preaching

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon changes in African Americans' faith

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes challenges she encounters in her church

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon the black presence in the Bible, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon the black presence in the Bible, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about black spirituality beyond Christianity

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the influence of African culture on Christianity, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the influence of African culture on Christianity, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson explains the importance of practice over symbolism in religion

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her current work

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the role of women in the African American church

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her mission trip to Lesotho, Africa

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon her life

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Reverend Constance Jackson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about her family

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes the importance of role models

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Reverend Constance Jackson talks about megachurches

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Reverend Constance Jackson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Reverend Constance Jackson narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Reverend Constance Jackson recalls lessons from her family
Reverend Constance Jackson describes her decision to run for office
Transcript
And my [paternal] grandfather [Ira P. Jackson] always told us that we, we possessed so much and he would always tell us that. He says, "If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have more than you can use, you have more than you can eat, you have more money than you can spend, that overage doesn't belong to you. So, you need to find out who that overage belongs to, and spend the rest of your life finding out who that overage belongs to." And so, we were Parks and Recreation in Pledger [Texas]. When folks wanted to play football, you know, a weekend game of football or baseball, we'd cut out one of the fields. We were the employment office.$$So, your family was (laughter) Parks and Recreation?$$Yeah, sure, we were--I mean, you know, we were the employment office. If you wanted a summer job, you'd haul hay, you'd herd the cows, you know, horses, groom horses, you know, for my dad [Lewis B. Jackson, Sr.] and granddad. So, we were brought up that we were supposed to make ways for people. And so all of us--it doesn't surprise me now that all of us are in professions that, that help people, you know. We're, we're school teachers, we're nurse practitioners, we're city council folks who champion the cause, causes of people who can't, who have no voice. So, that, that was just a part of, of who we were. My mom [Sweetie Crawford Jackson], I can remember, you know, just talking about growing up in this dichotomy, with having a really not many black friends and kids who treat you very, very poorly, my mom would make these wonderful dresses. My mom was an incredible seamstress and could sew anything. She could look at something on television or see something in, in a department store, and go home, and cut out a pattern, and make it. And so, we were always dressed to the nines. She made all of our clothes and what have you, but she would sew for the neighborhood kids. And we knew these folks didn't like us, but she says--but they don't know any better, baby. So, just always, that's how we were, we were brought up. I didn't like it. I can promise you that because it just seemed, it seemed unfair. But as I grew older, I realized that a lot of the issues that my peers had came from their parents, and I think a lot of their issues came from, came from poverty.$$Sort of a vicious cycle of all of this.$$Yeah, yeah.$And it's going, you know, it was going well--the whole district office piece and, and what have you. I was getting settled into it. And then, one day, you know, about five guys from this labor union, you know, these same people that had fought me--well, not fought me, but fought my boss [Senator Chet Brooks] two years earlier, you know, in this campaign, said, "We'd like for you to run for office, and we think you could win." And I just thought they were crazy 'cause I had sworn to myself that I would never run for office 'cause I saw what officeholders went through. And I certainly never wanted to be that beholden to the people. So, I said, "You know, I'll work for an officeholder, but I don't want to be one." They kept talking to me, kept talking to me, and I talked with the senator. He said, "Oh, yeah, it'll be fun." Of course, Wayne [Wayne Johnson] was out of his mind, you know, by saying--he says, "Do you know the hell we can raise, you know?" And I went, "Wayne--," he says, "Oh, yeah, you'll going to have to raise some hell if you get on council." He said, "You're going to be the only woman, too." I went, "Wayne, I'm not interested in making history. I'm not interested in raising hell," right? Well, following deadline day, 1992, in April, I called my mom [Sweetie Jackson Crawford]. I believe my mom has breakfast with God every morning. This is how spiritual I believe my mom is. And I believe, you know, Mom, you know, Mom can, you know, go up to Heaven, or God can come down to earth and talk to my mom, and she has an instant answer, instant answer. So, I call her, it was that morning. I said, "Mom," I said, "you know, I, you know, I've told you some people have approached me, you know, about running for office." And she says, "Yeah, baby, I know." I said, "Well, mom, I need you to pray and, you know, talk to the Lord," I said, "'cause I need an answer." I said, "I really don't know what to do. I really don't want to do this, but if you tell me that the Lord says yes, then I'll go down there and file." It's about 4:40 p.m. on filing deadline day--the last day that you can file for a place on the ballot. And I call my mom. I went, "Mom, have you been praying? Did you talk to the Lord?" And she said, "Well, yeah, baby." I said, "Well, what did He say?" She said, "I told Him to talk to you" (laughter). Y- I, I was so frustrated, and I still can't tell you. I don't know if it was a lapse of sanity or, or what it was, but I still don't remember going down to city hall, and filling out the papers. All I know is that I did.