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Post Reporter Luther Jackson Jr.; Taught Journalism at Columbia

Journalist Luther P. Jackson Jr.
Journalist Luther P. Jackson Jr. (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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Friday, April 25, 2008

Luther P. Jackson Jr., 83, who in the early 1960s was among the few black reporters at The Washington Post and in 1968 became the first black faculty member at Columbia University's journalism school, died April 22 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y. He had Parkinson's disease.

Mr. Jackson taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism until 1992. His areas of expertise included urban affairs and the history of the black press. Housing and urban planning had been his beat at The Post, where he worked from 1959 to 1963.

At Columbia, he was considered a mentor to many students, aspiring black journalists in particular.

Luther Porter Jackson Jr. was born March 7, 1925, in Chicago. He was raised in Petersburg, Va., where his father chaired the history department at Virginia State University.

Mr. Jackson served in the Marines in the Pacific during World War II, attaining the rank of sergeant. He graduated from Virginia State in 1949 and received a master's degree from Columbia's journalism school in 1951.

He spent seven years reporting for the old Newark Evening News before joining The Post. Mr. Jackson, Wallace Terry and Dorothy Butler Gilliam were among a group of black journalists hired by The Post during that period.

Mr. Jackson left The Post staff after winning a yearlong fellowship to focus on urban studies at Rutgers University. He also did corporate affairs work for IBM headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., and held other editing and public affairs jobs before joining Columbia.

He lived in Hartsdale, N.Y., and was an officer in the New York chapter of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and wrote about historical black towns such as Boley, Okla., and Mound Bayou, Miss.

A son, Lee F. Jackson, died in a 1996 plane crash while accompanying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown on a trade mission to Croatia.

Survivors include his wife, Nettie Lee Jackson, whom he married in 1952, of Hartsdale; a son, Luther P. Jackson III of San Jose, Calif.; two brothers; and two grandsons.

-- Adam Bernstein

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