Disciplinarian said ‘education is the key to success’
Distinguished African American educator, “Professor” John Henry Jackson was born May 1, 1903, in Wilkes County, Georgia, to Charlie and Hattie Bonner Jackson, a school teacher at Third Shiloh Academy. After attending and graduating from the schools of Washington, he successfully earned a bachelors of science degree in education from Morehouse College of Atlanta in 1927, during the presidency of the eminent educator and scholar, Dr. John Hope.
With degree in hand, he returned to Wilkes County with a calling to uplift his people through education and at the same time provide the best possible care for his ailing mother who had inspired him to become an educator. After a period with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), he began his teaching career in Lincoln County. Around 1939, he accepted the position of teacher and principal of New Ford Baptist Church Junior High and Elementary School. His arrival at New Ford made it the only school in northeast Wilkes County that provided education beyond the seventh grade to African American children in that quadrant of the county.
It was because of the energetic efforts of New Ford pastor and “Morehouse Man,” Rev. Albert T. Zellars; World War I decorated veteran and school trustee, Deacon Willie Cofer; church servant-leaders like Deacon Charlie Cofer, Deacon J. C. Brewer, Deacon Cap Robinson, Deacon Bradley, Trustee John Benson, and others working in harmony with the then County School Superintendent W. T. Callaway, that New Ford was able to establish a junior high school and gain the services of “Professor” Jackson, who was at the time the only African American male teacher in the county with a college degree.