Longtime state Rep. Alphonse Jackson Jr., a civil rights activist and charter member of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, died Tuesday at the age of 87.
Jackson, a Democrat and World War II veteran who held degrees from Southern University and New York University, was first elected to the state Legislature in 1972 and served through 1992.
He was a longtime educator in the Caddo Parish School System and worked on school desegregation efforts, even meeting with President Richard Nixon on Louisiana integration strategies.
His daughter, Lydia, served in the state Legislature from 2000 to 2012.
State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, a New Orleans Democrat who chairs the state Democratic Party, called Jackson “a towering force for justice and freedom in the Shreveport community.”
“He fought to desegregate our schools, so that all of our children can receive a high-quality education that helps them grow and thrive,” she said in a statement. “As a state representative for two decades, he was the conscience of the Louisiana Legislature, and he helped to craft a state constitution that expanded voter participation and protected individuals’ rights.”
In 2012, the Louisiana Democratic Party honored Jackson with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Senate President John Alario, a Republican from Westwego, said Jackson was “a tireless public servant whose many accomplishments inspire us all.”
“I am privileged to have known him and the State of Louisiana is a better place because of his efforts,” Alario said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out his family and his daughter, former state Sen. Lydia Jackson. The Senate shares in their loss.”
Services will be held Saturday at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 185 Eddie Robinson Drive, in Baton Rouge. Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. with an Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Omega service at 10 a.m. and funeral service at 11 a.m.
Burial with military honors will follow at Southern Memorial Gardens, 301 Blount Road, in Baton Rouge.