Thursday, June 25, 2015

Diving Into the Pool of Books

There’s a certain sublime beauty one sometimes encounters in the course of reading or doing research.  Scholars know the feeling of immersion into a pool of sources so deep that one cannot dive deep enough to find all of that is in the pool, yet the diving itself takes on a certain special joy.

This happened to me this week, as a circle completed itself.  I was taking the opportunity to read Kwame Alexander’s novel in verse, The Crossover, which won the Newbery Award for the best in children’s literature this past year.  Mr. Alexander is visiting UNCG and Bookmarks in September, a visit I am pleased to recommend and coordinate.  Our Libraries’ annual children’s book author and storyteller series is near and dear to my heart, and I always enjoy putting it together.  

When I finished The Crossover, which is a superb book for readers of any age to dive into, I read a blurb at the end from Ashley Bryan, two-time winner of the Coretta Scott King award for children’s literature.  I hope you haven’t missed the work of Ashley Bryan, now past 90 years of age, but he was one of the first, if not the first, African American author/illustrator of children’s books. Having brought the great author/illustrator Jerry Pinkney to be the very first speaker in our Children’s Book Author and Storyteller Series back in 2007, I was interested in knowing more about about Bryan, a man who no doubt has influenced and perhaps mentored not only Kwame Alexander, but probably Jerry Pinkney as well. 

I was startled to learn that Ashley Bryan lives on one of the Cranberry Isles in Maine, accessible only by boat.  I say startled, because I am departing for a trip to Maine with my wife and adult daughter in early July, and will be staying only a short distance from the Cranberry Isles when we stay in Southwest Harbor.  I’m hoping to take a day trip out to the Cranberry Isles to see an exhibit about the work of Ashley Bryan in the Isleford Historical Museum, if it's still on exhibit as it was last year. 

Who knows? Perhaps I’ll meet Mr. Bryan himself.  If I do, I’ll tell him how much I admire his contributions to children’s literature, and how way down here in North Carolina, we too are doing what we can to connect each person, young or old,  with the right book that might send them for a dive into the joyous pool awaiting them when they read or conduct research.

As Ashley Bryan writes at the end of his autobiography, Words to My Life's Song, quoting the Ashanti storytellers in African folktales: “This is my story.  Whether it be bitter or whether it be sweet, take some of it elsewhere and let the rest come back to me.”

See you when I return.  

When and Where to See Kwame Alexander (Both events free and open to the public):
In Greensboro at UNCG, 7 p.m. September 14 in the Elliott University Center Auditorium
In Winston-Salem at the Bookmarks Festival, Saturday, September 12  (time to be announced)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Clint and Terri Jackson Plan Testamentary Gift to University Libraries

Clint Jackson IV and Terri Jackson
The Jackson family’s legacy at UNCG extends for yet another generation, supporting the Special Collections and University Archives in Jackson Library, named for the first generation of Jacksons associated with the University.  The family’s connection to UNCG goes back more than a century, to 1909.

Walter Clinton Jackson, IV (Clint) and Terri Jackson have committed to establish the Walter Clinton Jackson Family Acquisition and Preservation Endowment with a testamentary gift.  Clint and Terri’s intention in making this gift is to honor the generations of Jackson family involvement with UNCG and to support the work of the University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives.

Walter Clinton Jackson (June 28, 1879 – August 12, 1959) served as the Chancellor of the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (currently the University of North Carolina at Greensboro) from 1934-1950.  His father was a farmer who had served in the Confederate Army; his mother was a former schoolteacher.  Young Jackson received the Bachelor of Science degree from Mercer University in 1900 and was awarded the Doctor of Law degree in 1926.  After teaching in several Georgia schools, he was invited to come to Greensboro, NC to become principal of the Lindsay Street School in 1902.  The same year he married Mattie Redford.  They had three children.  In 1909, Jackson began his long association with UNCG.  He was the head of the History Department until 1915, when he also became Dean.  From 1921- 1932 he was Vice-President and Department Head.  During his career he was also Dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Jackson was an active civic leader and served on a variety of educational organizations.  He authored A Boy’s Life of Booker T. Washington and The Story of North Carolina with A. M. Arnett.  The main library at UNCG is named for Dr. Jackson.

Walter Clinton Jackson, III graduated from Guilford College in 1953.  After serving two years in the U. S. Army, he returned to Greensboro and became head of the Clinton Press until his retirement in 2007.  He was a well-respected leader in the print industry for many years, and was proud that his company continues under the leadership of his son.  Clint was an avid boater and a member of the Greensboro Power Squadron and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Swansboro, where he taught courses including navigation.  Clint enjoyed authentic model ship-building.  He and his wife Jackie had two daughters and one son, Walter Clinton Jackson, IV.

Jacqueline “Jackie” Johnson Jackson was born in Wake County and was the first member of her family to attend college.  In 1952, she graduated from Woman’s College (UNCG) with a degree in Education.  This experience defined her early career and forever fueled her lifelong quest for learning as well as her role as the family historian.  She married Walter Clinton Jackson, III after graduation.  She taught first grade at Irving Park Elementary School and later became a typographer for what is now the third generation printing business, The Clinton Press.  Jackie served as a leader in the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, was a member of the American Kennel Club, raising and showing Siberian Huskies.  Jackie, as the family historian, helped preserve the personal and professional memories of Chancellor Jackson.

Walter Clinton Jackson, IV, a 1986 graduate of the Bryan School of UNCG, is the third generation owner and president of The Clinton Press.  A native of Greensboro and the great-grandson of former Chancellor Walter Clinton Jackson, Clint is an advocate for his community and the organizations that serve it.  He is an active member of the Greensboro Kiwanis Club and enjoys shooting trap and skeet, boating and fishing.  He became a member of the Jackson Society, with his wife Terri in 2014 and now serves as the Chair of the Jackson Society, a leadership giving society with the UNCG University Libraries. Clint chaired the “Challenge,” for the libraries in 2014 to help increase donor participation.  He also serves on the UNCG Friends of the University Libraries.  He and Terri plan to fund The Walter Clinton Jackson Family Acquisition and Preservation Endowment.

Teresa (Terri) Jackson grew up in Greensboro and has been a lover of books since she was old enough to read, starting with every Nancy Drew book in the series.  Terri graduated from Page High School, where, at the time, the library didn’t have the resources she needed, so she made Jackson Library her home away from home.  After graduating from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in journalism and political science, Terri returned to Greensboro.  Here, she has spent her career in education, first as the director of the Greensboro Youth Council, a youth leadership program for high school students, then for many years in administration at Greensboro Day School.  Today, she is Director of Development for the School of Education at UNCG.  She is also a founder of Our Children’s House, a five-star child care center in operation for over 20 years. For her work in education, she was named a Woman of Achievement by the Greensboro Commission on the Status of Women. Together, she and Clint have four children:  Katherine Obermeyer Ector ’13, Elizabeth, Connor, and Julianne.

Income from the endowment will be used to enhance the work of the University Libraries and its Special Collections and University Archives.   Purposes for which funds might be used include but are not limited to acquiring and preserving books, manuscripts, photographs, film, audio recordings and other media that are to be used by students, historians, researchers and the community.

Funds will be spent at the discretion of the Dean of the University Libraries

Dr. Walter Clinton Jackson

Jackie Jackson sharing family history
with guests at Friends of the UNCG
Libraries Dinner in 2013