These words were spoken nearly a half of century ago by Reverend Dr. Joseph Harrison Jackson. This is not a man you will hear much about in a history class. In 1984 his life-sized statue was unveiled at the Olivet Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Side. It was a small observance attended by fewer than a dozen people, and no one from the media reported the ceremony. In contrast, prior to the civil rights era, no one would have imagined he would be nearly vanquished from Black American history and condemned to obscurity.
However, notwithstanding, Dr. J. H. Jackson held the office of President for the National Baptist Convention (NBC) as a leader known in every part of the world, including Russia’s Iron Curtain. He stood among the most powerful men of his era. He exercised that authority against Martin Luther King Jr., and saw his influence eroded in a vicious and divisive finale, concluding one of the most poignant chapters in Black American history. The consequences that followed their rivalry included a bitterness that spanned beyond the grave and all but erased his name from the face of the earth.