Oklahoma Wesleyan University celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with a special chapel featuring guest speaker, Gloria Jackson. Jackson is the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and founder and president of the Booker T. Washington Inspirational Network, Inc. (BTWIN).
Jackson’s address focused on the unity and inclusion of Jesus Christ through the lives of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Booker T. Washington. She referenced both King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and the Emancipation Proclamation as evidences of the freedoms Americans are now blessed with.
By contrasting America’s past with present freedoms, Jackson presented a vision of hope: “We carry the toil and sweat that is America, we carry the sin of slavery that is America, we carry the wrongful treatment of Black and Native Americans that is America, but we also carry the forgiveness and grace that is America.”
Jackson, who lectures regularly about her great-grandfather, says she believes God gave her the gift to speak to share the truths and faith of Booker T. Washington who is now often misunderstood or omitted in the history books.
“Modern history is sanitized to be politically correct,” said Jackson, adding that Booker T. Washington was wrongly characterized as “an Uncle Tom, a sellout, and a betrayer of his race.”
On the contrary, she continued, “as we took those first steps as freed people, my grandfather pointed us toward opportunity.” Besides being a strong leader, Washington was a man of faith. His daughter wrote that he always began and ended his day with prayer, and he refused to let race, racism, or grievances become an idol in his life.
Above all, Jackson emphasized faith in God as the ultimate liberator, a testament to both the legacies of Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. And in the end, she continued, it’s not people who make the difference, but God.
“Like the Good Shepherd He is, perhaps God uses [leaders] as a rod and staff to guide us in the right direction,” said Jackson, “Perhaps he gives them to us to show us how he uses ordinary people—just like you and me—and raises them up using their talents and skills for His glory.”
MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Aside from her work with the BTWIN, Jackson holds a law degree from UCLA and resides in Los Angeles where she is an attorney and real estate broker. Jackson has also co-authored a book about her great-grandfather with her cousin, Sarah Rush, entitled Timeless Treasures: Reflections of God’s Word in the Wisdom of Booker T. Washington.