Wayne State University

About Murray Jackson

Murray Jackson (1926–2002), was a poet, college professor and community and civil rights activist. He was a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors from 1981 to 2001, but his affiliation with the University began long before that.

Following his service with the Navy Seabees during World War II, Jackson entered Wayne State University as a student, rejecting a recruiting contract from the major league baseball Brooklyn Dodgers. He graduated from Wayne State with bachelor's and master's degrees in the humanities and began his career as an academic adviser in the College of Liberal Arts.

Jackson was instrumental in founding Detroit's first urban college and was appointed president of Wayne County Community College in 1970. The University of Michigan offered him a tenured faculty position in 1972, which he held until his appointment as Emeritus Associate Professor of Urban Higher Education in 1992.

Most of Murray Jackson's professional and community service efforts were directed to metropolitan Detroit. He maintained a lifelong commitment to community building, civil rights and education while achieving fame in literary circles as a poet. He is the author of Woodland Sketches: Scenes from Childhood (X-Press Productions) and Watermelon Rinds and Cherry Pits (Broadside Press). Several selections are included in New Poems from the Third Coast (Wayne State University Press). He was the first executive director of the Detroit Council of the Arts.