William H. Jackson was born April 18, 1915 in Waycross, Georgia, and moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1923. He attended Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley High School) and joined the Greensboro Police Department in February 1940. In the fall of 1941, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he completed four and a half years of duty. He returned to the Greensboro police in 1946, just before the department hired their first African American officers. During his subsequent three decades career with the Greensboro police, Jackson served as head of the personnel and training, juvenile, uniform, and detective divisions.
Notable highlights of Jackson's career include presenting on racial tensions in Greensboro at the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in the early 1960s, and coordinating police presence with North Carolina A&T State University student leaders during marches and demonstrations in 1963. Jackson was present at many notable events during the Greensboro civil rights movement, including the Jefferson Square sit-down where 1400 demonstrators were arrested, and the arrest of Jesse Jackson. He retired from the police force in May 1976 after 31 years of service. William Jackson died on September 23, 1993 in Greensboro.