Mourning the death of legendary radio personality Harold Baron Jackson

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LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of legendary radio personality
Harold Baron Jackson

WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to honor and pay trib-
ute to those individuals whose commitment and creative talents have
contributed to the entertainment and cultural enrichment of their commu-
nity and the entire State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Harold "Hal" Jackson died on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at the
age of 96; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson was born the son of Eugene Baron Jackson and
Laura (Rivers) Jackson on November 3, 1915, in Charleston, South Caroli-
na; he grew up in Washington, D.C. where he was educated at Howard
University; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson began his broadcasting career as the first Afri-
can-American radio sports announcer, broadcasting Howard's home baseball
games and local Negro league baseball games; in 1939, he became the
first African-American host at WINX/Washington with "The Bronze Review",
a nightly interview program; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson later hosted a talk show, and a program of jazz
and blues on WOOK-TV; he moved to New York in 1954 and became the first
radio personality to broadcast three daily shows on three different New
York stations; four million listeners tuned in nightly to hear his mix
of music and conversations with jazz and show business celebrities; and
WHEREAS, In 1971, Hal Jackson and the late Percy Sutton, a former
Manhattan borough president, co-founded the Inner City Broadcasting
Corporation (ICBC), which acquired WLIB, becoming the first African-Am-
erican owned and operated station in New York; and
WHEREAS, The following year, ICBC acquired WLIB-FM, changing its call
letters to WBLS "the total Black experience in Sound"; today, ICBC where
Hal Jackson was group chairman, owns and operates stations in New York
City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, as well as in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, Columbia, South Carolina, and Jackson, Mississippi;
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson spent a lifetime breaking down barriers; during
the 1940s and 1950s when racial segregation was prevalent, his pioneer-
ing efforts in radio and television opened doors for other African-Amer-
ican broadcasters; he became an advocate for teens in the 1960s, produc-
ing the Black Teenage America contest, and was a supporter of
Black-owned businesses beginning in the 1970s, when he joined ICBC; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson not only made sure that the struggle for Black
equality was broadcast over America's publicly owned airwaves, but also
disseminated the glories of African-American attainment far and wide by
interviewing luminaries like Dr. Charles Drew who discovered blood plas-
ma; Mary McCloud Bethune, advisor to President Roosevelt and Founder of
the National Council of Negro Women; Harlem's first Congressman Adam
Clayton Powell; Harlem's Joe Louis the "Brown Bomber" who crushed the
Nazi's theory of white supremacy; and Harlem's eminent composer Duke
Ellington; in addition, Hal Jackson employed his radio programs to
promote and preserve awareness of R&B classics; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson, our leader, our champion, our friend and our
advocate, was also a husband to his widow, the lovely Mrs. Deborah (Debi
B.) Jackson, co-host of their radio show "Sunday Classics"; a father to
his eldest daughter, Jane Jackson Harley, a concert promoter in Washing-
ton, D.C; his son, Judge Harold B. Jackson, Jr. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin;
his daughter, Jewell Jackson McCabe, a business woman in New York City
and a founder of the vital organization, 100 Black Women; and his daugh-

ter, Tonya Gray; Mr. Jackson was also a grandfather to six grandchil-
dren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild; and
WHEREAS, In 1990, Hal Jackson was the first minority member inducted
into the National Association of Broadcaster's Hall of Fame; in 1995, he
became the first African-American inducted into the National Radio Hall
of Fame, and was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Founda-
tion in 2003; furthermore, in October 2010, he was named a "Giant in
Broadcasting" by the Library of American Broadcasting; and
WHEREAS, Being a true asset to society, Hal Jackson was the founder of
the Hal Jackson Talented Teens Miss International Competition where for
over 39 years he served as Executive Producer and Host of the contest;
WHEREAS, During his lifetime, Hal Jackson was honored by Presidents
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F.
Kennedy; because of his access to the airwaves, Hal Jackson was instru-
mental in stimulating the initial movement for the 6.5 million signa-
tures solicited on petitions and letters submitted to Representatives
John Conyers and Shirley Chisholm on behalf of creating Dr. Martin Luth-
er King, Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday; and
WHEREAS, Hal Jackson distinguished himself in his profession and by
his sincere dedication and substantial contribution to the welfare of
his community; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Hal Jackson leaves behind a legacy which will long endure
the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all he
served and befriended; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of legendary radio personality Harold Baron Jackson; and
be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Harold Baron Jackson.


  • 01 / Jun / 2012
  • 05 / Jun / 2012
  • 05 / Jun / 2012

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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