A. B. Jackson (painter)

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A. B. Jackson (April 18, 1925 – March 23, 1981)[1] was an African-American painter.

Life and career[edit]

Alexander Brooks Jackson was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of a black father and an English mother who was born in Manchester, England.[2][3] and earned both BFA and MFA degrees from Yale University, studying with Josef Albers[4] in the mid-1950s. Before entering the teaching field, he worked for three years in the Watson-Manning Advertising Agency in Stratford, Connecticut, as a designer.

He worked briefly as an instructor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1955, before moving to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1956.[1] In 1967, after teaching 10 years at Norfolk State, he joined Old Dominion University (ODU) as a full professor, becoming its first black faculty member.

During the years he taught, Jackson also exhibited his art in shows in many local and neighboring areas.[5] Having been denied entry to the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art show in 1962 because of his race, he won best-in-show in 1966.[3] Jackson received significant attention in 1968, after several of his drawings were included in a Smithsonian Institution traveling art exhibition.[5] Influenced by Rembrandt, Jackson worked in a range of materials, including watercolors, pastels, charcoal and acrylic.[6] His series of paintings entitled "The Porch People" depicts anonymous sitters on their porches in Ghent, the district of Norfolk, Virginia, where he lived. His book, As I See Ghent: A Visual Essay, was published in 1979.[1][3]

Jackson died in 1981, at the age of 55.

Jackson is represented in the permanent collections of:


Passerby: An A.B. Jackson Retrospective is scheduled at The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, ODU, from May 23, 2015, till August 2, 2015.[7]

Jackson is the maternal grandfather of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "The Papers of A.B. Jackson: Biography", Special Collections & University Archives, Old Dominion University.
  2. ^ a b Russell Wilson with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at The Richmond Forum. April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016 – via YouTube. 
  3. ^ a b c "A.B. Jackson", Quest, Old Dominion University.
  4. ^ Kathryn Waggener McGuire, "A. B. Jackson and the 'black art' paradigm", Visual Inquiry: Learning & Teaching Art, Volume 2, Issue 3, September 2013. Published by Intellect.
  5. ^ a b George Paaswell, "Exhibit Offers Study Of A Vanishing Culture; Works Of A.b. Jackson At Suffolk Museum", Daily Press, February 2, 1990.
  6. ^ "NCCU Art Museum Receives Major Donation Of A.B. Jackson Works" (press release), North Carolina Central University Art Museum, June 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "Upcoming events", The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, Old Dominion University.

External links[edit]