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Guide to the James E. Jackson and Esther Cooper Jackson Photographs Collection PHOTOS.221

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Aniko Szucs and Erika Gottfried, 2006-2007

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 20, 2018
Description is in English. using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of ca. 1,350 images, mainly black and white photographs. The largest group of images documents the Jacksons' (in particular James Jackson's) extensive international travels in an official capacity for the CPUSA. These include trips as part of CPUSA delegations to international communist meetings convened in the Soviet Union. These consist almost entirely of official press photographs, including a leather-bound official presentation-type photograph album holding images from the 26th World Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in Moscow, 1959. Originally holding thirty (mainly 8 ½ x 6 inch) black and white prints (six became loose and are stored in a folder adjacent to the album; seven images are missing), most of these consist of iconic images of Moscow cityscapes and buildings, wide shots of the Congress and Nikita Khrushchev (then First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) addressing it, but a few are two-shots or group shots that include James Jackson. Also documented are journeys to state-sponsored gatherings in eastern European Soviet bloc countries including Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland, as well as trips to Canada, western Europe (England and France), Latin America (Argentina, Cuba, and Venezuela), Africa (Ethiopia), and Asian countries. The latter include Cambodia, China, India, Mongolia, and North Korea, but most notably Vietnam (from 1963 to 1980). The photographs from the trips to Vietnam include a small group of images of Jackson interviewing American prisoners of war (including U.S. Navy Lieutenant-Commander Richard Allen Stratton) in 1968 at the North Vietnamese detention camp known as the "Hanoi Hilton." Also notable is a 1980 color snapshot of James Jackson with Madame Binh, former leader of the National Liberation Front's delegation to the 1970s U.S.–Vietnamese peace negotiations in Paris, although most of the photographs from Vietnam appear to be official Vietnamese press photographs documenting the destruction wreaked by the war rather than private photographs.

The collection also includes images of CPUSA leaders and luminaries (portraits or shown with James or Esther Jackson or the Jacksons together), such as Eugene Dennis, Gus Hall, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and prominent African-American communists Louis Burnham, Hosea Hudson, Henry Winston, Bessie Mitchell, and Angela Davis, as well as photographs of W. E. B. Du Bois. Also pictured with James Jackson are international communist leaders such as Ho Chi Minh, Nikita Khruschev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Mikhail Gorbachev; Henry Winston is shown posed with Fidel Castro. In addition, images from the files of Freedomwaysare included in the collection. These mainly document cultural events sponsored by the magazine, which include performers such as Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Pete Seeger, Miriam Makeba and Carmen De Lavallade. Also notable in this series are a small number of searing images of police pursuing and beating residents of Harlem and bleeding residents during a conflict that broke out in July 1964 following protests over the killing of an African-American man by a white police officer.

More sparsely represented in the collection are biographical and family photographs, images that relate to the SNYC, pictures of demonstrations (ranging from May Day rallies of the 1940s and 1980s to 1940s civil rights marches, protests against the war in Vietnam and an early protest against United States' intervention in Arab countries) and of delegations of African-Americans visiting government officials, including President Lyndon Johnson and Democratic Senator (and Progressive Party vice-presidential candidate) Glen Taylor of Idaho.


Folders are arranged chronologically within series, with the exception of series V and XIV, which are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into sixteen series:

Missing Title

  1. I. James E. Jackson.
  2. II. Esther Cooper Jackson.
  3. III. Esther and James Jackson.
  4. IV. Group Pictures.
  5. V. Photographs of Others.
  6. VI. Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA).
  7. VII. Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
  8. VIII. International Communist Parties.
  9. IX. Conferences.
  10. X. Miscellaneous Events.
  11. XI. Demonstrations and Rallies.
  12. XII. Southern Negro Youth Congress.
  13. XIII. Freedomways.
  14. XIV. Travel.
  15. XV. Negatives.
  16. XVI. Photo Album.