Paul (Stonewall) Jackson, blessed with quick feet and even quicker hands, was a small but bright star on local athletic fields during the late 1940s and '50s.

The slightly built 135-pounder played linebacker and fullback at Phelps High School in Northeast Washington and for the old Georgetown Eagles semipro team in Foggy Bottom before turning his talents to the boxing ring.

"He was as tough as he could be," said his longtime friend, Petey Greene. "He was okay with everybody and you had to like him.".

Greene, along with the Howard Theatre Foundation Inc., is sponsoring a benefit for the 52-year-old Jackson, who has suffered strokes recently and is unable to work. The affair will be [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]

Greene, a community liaison specialist with the United Planning Organiztion and a radio personality, said the benefit was put together because "Jackson was always willing to help others.

"He had a favorite saying, 'A baby can have it, but a gorilla can't take it,'" Greene said. "And nobody took anything from Jackson. He kept the gorillas off our backs when we were coming up.

'He's a deeply religious person and was selling candy for the church when he suffered his second stroke," Greene said. "His mind comes and goes. He's taken some hard hits in his life."

Jackson enjoyed some success in the ring, winning a majority of his fights in the middleweight division. One of the better young black fighters in the Washington area, Jackson once was Kid Gavilan's sparring partner. He later fought and lost to Gavilan.

Jackson later dedicated himself to training area fighters.

"He helped a lot of young guys," Greene said. "That's why it's sad to see him like he is now."

Jackson's health began to fail while he was employed as a recreational aide and boxing instructor for the D.C. Department of Recreation.

"He organized and supervised our boxing program at the King-Greenleaf playground for almost four years," said William Arthur Smith, the assistant manager of Ward 7's recreation program. 'He really did an outstanding job. Talk about rarities, he is one. He is a kindhearted, hard-working person. He loved working with the kids."

Jackson's boxing students traveled all over the metropolitan area, putting on exhibitions at schools, recreational centers and hospitals.

Jackson, who had lately been involved with a rehabilitation program in the recreation department, was as tough as they come in his younger days.

One during a football game, the 5-foot-6 Jackson saw one of his friends getting beaten up on the sideline. Jackson ran off the field just as the play began and knocked his friend's assailant to his knees.

"He punched the dude out and still got back on the field in time to take the ball on a tripe reverse and run for a touchdown," Greene said. "Anything happened in a game in Foggy Bottom. Stonewall always was part of the happenings.

"We're hoping the people come out and honor Stonewall," Greene said. "He sure deserves it."