James E. and Esther Cooper Jackson are African American communists and civil rights activists, best known for their role in founding and leading the Southern Negro Youth Congress (1937-48). James Jackson was head of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) Louisiana state organization in 1946, and was a Party organizer in the automobile industry in Detroit from 1947-50. He then moved to New York, becoming the Southern Director for the Communist Party. He later served as the Communist Party’s Educational Director and as International Affairs Secretary, retiring in 1991. Esther Cooper Jackson served as Executive Secretary of the Southern Negro Congress from 1942-1946. She also co-founded and served as the managing editor from 1961-1986 of Freedomways, an influential African American political and cultural quarterly.
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