Graham W. Jackson papers
Scope and Content
This collection contains materials pertaining to the musical career of Graham Washington Jackson, including advertisements, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, correspondence, musician contact records, a recital program, and a certificate for the WSBeaver Award from WSB Radio. In addition, this collection includes some of Jackson’s personal papers, such as his driver’s license, some postcards, birth announcements, business and membership cards, and event programs.
- 1923-1983, undated
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
Unpublished manuscipts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.
Graham Washington Jackson (22 February 1903- 15 January 1983) was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and began his musical career at age seven accompanying silent movies. He played piano, organ, accordion, and led singing groups. Jackson attended Morehouse College, Chicago Musical College, Hampton Institute, Loyola (Chicago) University, and Atlanta University. He was a music teacher, an orchestra leader, and a radio station organist at WERD. In 1924 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia as leader of a musical group, the Seminole Syncopators. He later became the orchestra leader and pianist for Bailey's 81 Theater on Auburn Avenue. In 1928, Jackson began teaching at Booker T. Washington High School, where he remained until 1940. Jackson married Helen Balton of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1953 and had two sons, Graham Jackson, Jr. and Gerald Wayne Jackson.
In 1933, Jackson first met and performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Navy where he was assigned to recruitment and entertainment duties. The U.S. Treasury Department commended him for bond sales totaling more than $2 million. Jackson obtained worldwide recognition following the publication of the April 17, 1945 issue of Life magazine which published a photograph taken by Ed Clark. The image of him playing Going Home on his accordion for President Roosevelt's funeral procession, as it left Warm Springs, became one of the most remembered images surrounding President Roosevelt's death. Graham Jackson built a home in Atlanta modeled after Franklin Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs. The original address was 60 Abbott Street, Atlanta, Georgia, but Jackson had the name of the road changed to White House Drive.
Graham Jackson played for five other U.S. presidents: Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. In 1969, Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, a well-known segregationist, appointed Jackson to the State Board of Corrections. He was the first African American to hold such an office in Georgia since Reconstruction. Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter named Jackson the state's official musician on November 30, 1971. Graham Jackson appeared on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town and Dave Garroway's Today Show. In 1985, Jackson was inducted posthumously into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
6.75 linear ft. (seven document cases, one record center box, two oversize boxes, and six reel-to-reels)
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Audio recordings were made on 1/4" reel-to-reels and can be made accessible only through conversion to digital surrogates. Patrons who request access to the audio content in this collection are responsible for digital conversion costs.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- African American musicians -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- African Americans -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- American Negro Music Festival
- Georgia. State Board of Corrections
- Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity
- Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003
- Music -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Musicians -- Georgia -- Atlanta
- Navy League of the United States
- Pittypat's Porch (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Rockefeller, Winthrop, 1912-1973
- Roosevelt Warm Springs Foundation
- Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
- WERD (Radio station : Atlanta, Ga.)
- Graham W. Jackson papers
- Sue VerHoef
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared According To Dacs
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is written in English.