Oral History

Marian Cheek Jackson - On the Jackson Center and her vision for Northside

Interviewed by Katelyn Ferrell on May 31, 2011

Marian Cheek Jackson has resided in Chapel Hill for her entire life. Much of the life she knows has involved her staying in, participating in, and protecting Northside. The Marian Cheek Jackson Center was named after her because of the vision she had to document the history that lies in the neighborhood. Jackson is a big believer in “without a past we have no future”, thus reflecting the image of the center itself. Jackson’s grandfather was a freed slave that worked as a brick mason for the university, and her father was a janitor for the university. Her father was also the creator of the Janitor’s Association at Chapel Hill, where he did great work in obtaining and protecting the rights of janitors on campus. Her entire family has been involved in making strides for the black community in Chapel Hill. Jackson is most concerned with keeping the land in Northside in the hands of the black community because she sees that it is being lost, therefore there is no place for these families to come back to. That is where the Jackson Center comes into place. The center has committees in place that go out and challenge legislation that may take land away from the black community. Additionally, the committees find ways for the black community to make the law work for them so that they can keep their land and make needed improvements to their homes. The vision that Marian Jackson has for Northside is that the entire community get back into getting to know and support each other. She thinks the community has lost that since more students have moved in, but she wants to work with the students to bring back the community atmosphere.

Marian Cheek Jackson - On the Jackson Center and her vision for Northside

Oral history interview of Jackson, Marian Cheek conducted by Ferrell, Katelyn on May 31, 2011 at Marian Cheek Jackson Center, Chapel Hill, NC.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Marian Cheek Jackson - On the Jackson Center and her vision for Northside,” From the Rock Wall, accessed May 19, 2024, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/marian-jackson-and-katelyn-ferrell.

Rights: Closed for public access.

"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"

Ms. Esphur Foster

Want to add in?  Have a different view?  What do you think? Want to upload your own photos or documents?

History is not the past.  It’s the sense we make of the past now. Click below to RESPOND—and be part of making history today.

Respond