The Jackson House

Coming to Greenfield Village

For more information regarding this acquisition, visit the press release.

Now known as the Jackson Museum, this simple structure in Selma is a unique time capsule documenting one of the most momentous movements in U.S. history: the Selma to Montgomery marches, a sustained effort to ensure that all Americans would have the civil rights and voting rights promised to them.

The house and its contents are a remarkable fusion of the ordinary and the epic: A maple dining table—around which civil rights leaders, U.S. congressmen, and two Nobel Peace Prize winners broke bread and shared dreams. An upholstered armchair facing a black-and-white television— the chair where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sat as he watched President Lyndon Johnson pledge to pass voting rights legislation. A bed with a pair of pajamas atop the covers—the bed and pajamas in which King spent many nights during the Selma to Montgomery marches.

The Jackson House, now more than 100 years old, needs constant stewardship and upkeep. And its inspiring stories—of people and history converging at the intersection of family life and momentous events—richly deserve to be collected, curated, and shared with new generations, including the many millions of young people born in the decades since 1965.

That's why the home's owner, Jawana Jackson—who, aged four in 1965, called the family's frequent, famous guest “Uncle Martin”—has reached out to The Henry Ford with an ambitious, audacious dream.

Jawana Jackson has asked The Henry Ford to acquire, relocate, and elevate this historic house, giving it an enduring home in Greenfield Village, our 80 + acre living history museum.

Preserving this historic house isn't Jawana Jackson's only goal. Nor is it our only goal.

Our shared goal goes beyond preservation, to elevation. Jawana Jackson and The Henry Ford share a vision of preserving and sharing the legacy of this house. We seek to raise its profile—to lift it up and bring it to the attention of new audiences across the nation and around the world—and to share its inspiring stories, bringing the past forward and helping shape a brighter future for generations to come.

In this house, people will learn how a committed group of idealists—some famous, some obscure— worked together to advance American principles and bring liberty, justice, and rights within the reach of all Americans. Their struggles, and their successes, are a powerful part of America's story. And The Henry Ford is uniquely equipped—and deeply honored—to partner in sharing these stories … and in bringing visionaries together at the house to dream inspiring new dreams.

In This House

Here, behind a humble façade, world-changing ideas, plans, and actions charged the air with hope:

  • In this house Dr. Sullivan Jackson and his wife Richie Jean provided a safe haven for the nation's leading civil rights activists to strategize and plan.
  • In this house the “Selma Movement” and the momentous Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965 were largely planned.
  • In this house Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., worked and slept and strategized, along with key allies, for months before the Montgomery march.
  • In this house King frequently spoke by phone with President Lyndon Johnson about the need to expand and protect Black voting rights through national legislation.
  • In this house King and others watched, electrified, as President Johnson made a nationally televised address to Congress introducing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, proclaiming “We shall overcome.”

Community Support

“I am honored to partner with The Henry Ford to enhance the visitor experience with the addition of the Jackson House at Greenfield Village. This historic private residence will now be included among other nationally significant homes and artifacts which represent America's commitment to justice, peace and freedom for all.”

-Jawana Jackson, daughter of Dr. Sullivan and Richie Jean Jackson

"I celebrate the Jackson family's contribution to the 1960s Voting Rights Movement and express appreciation to The Henry Ford for relocating this valuable asset to historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. My hope is that the Jackson family, The Henry Ford, the city of Selma and the nation, immensely benefit from this powerful preservation initiative."

-The Hon. James Perkins, Jr., Mayor of the City of Selma, Alabama

"Jawana and I have known each other since childhood. We grew up in the same neighborhood. When Jawana confided in me about plans to move the historic Jackson House to The Henry Ford, I supported her decision to preserve her home and its place in civil rights history. As the councilperson who represents the district of the historic Jackson House, I, along with Selma City Council President Billy Young, look forward to beginning a dialogue with The Henry Ford. We look forward to this exciting new chapter for the Jackson House."

-The Hon. Jannie Thomas, Councilmember, City of Selma, Ward 7

“We are honored to be able to host and preserve The Jackson House at Greenfield Village and share its incredible history at the heart of the civil rights movement with the world. I am so thankful for Ms. Jawana Jackson’s tireless efforts to secure the future of this home and for entrusting The Henry Ford to carry on its legacy. I've always said that Detroit is a city where movements are born, where you can find reminders of the fight for freedom and equality around every corner, and this addition to our community will be right at home. It's so critically important that we continue to educate people about the history of the civil rights movement, and I trust The Jackson House will inspire countless new leaders to continue fighting for the world we all deserve.”

-Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, MI-12th Congressional District

“As an internationally renowned American history complex and Michigan's leading cultural tourism destination, The Henry Ford is well positioned to preserve the Jackson Home within Greenfield Village and share its important stories with the world. Together with the Rosa Parks bus, already a part of the museum's collections, the Jackson Home will serve as a powerful platform for inspiring this and future generations with the stories of America's struggles for equal rights for all.”

-Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, MI-6th Congressional District

“During a time when history is oftentimes challenged, it becomes even more important to preserve the legacies of those who gave their lives in the fight for equality. Through the hard work and dedication of Jawana Jackson, she has cemented her parent’s place in history and thanks to The Henry Ford, we are able to welcome a significant piece of their story to Wayne County. The impact of the Jackson House will not only bring a richness to the county, but will serve as a daily reminder of how far we have come and how much further we have to go.”

-Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans.

“The city of Dearborn, Michigan, is blessed with many community assets. Among them is the State of Michigan's leading cultural tourism destination, The Henry Ford. For more than 90 years, it has drawn visitors from all fifty states and around the world to its National Historic Landmark campus. Its outdoor history complex, Greenfield Village, features 83 historic structures, all but one of which was brought to the site from a different point of origin. The Henry Ford has now been entrusted by its owner to take possession and bring to the Village the historic Jackson House from Selma, Alabama. Here, the House will benefit from The Henry Fords resources that will protect its physical integrity in perpetuity and share its stories of the pivotal role it played in the civil rights movement of the 1960s with millions of in-person and virtual visitors.”

-The Hon. Abdullah Hammoud, Mayor of the City of Dearborn, Michigan

"The Henry Ford has the expertise necessary to physically preserve the Jackson House and its artifacts and to share its powerful story. In my view, the Jackson House will be in excellent hands and will receive all of the care and attention this historically significant structure deserves."

-Laura Lott, President & CEO, American Alliance of Museums

"Not every historic building can be preserved in its original location and for this reason, so many important places are forever lost. Not so for the Jackson House that will find new life and meaning at The Henry Ford's Greenfield Village. The Jacksons are unsung heroes. Their generosity and courage show us how we, as ordinary Americans, can stand up against injustice and for the beloved community. The Henry Ford has taken a leadership role in broadening the history that museums can tell and enabling us all to envision a shared legacy that makes us stronger as a democratic nation of many diverse people."

-Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, Ph.D., Director and Distinguished Professor at Cooperstown Graduate Program/SUNY Oneonta and author of Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights

"It is imperative that places of historic importance marking the contributions of African Americans be restored and preserved. The Jackson House represents one such significant property, a structure steeped in history and culture. The Henry Ford's collaboration with Ms. Jawana Jackson represents a critical step in ensuring that this iconic American property is preserved and will be visited by millions of visitors."

-Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

“This move is most significant in the year in which we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s Walk For Freedom in the City of Detroit where he gave his “I Have A Dream” speech on June 23, 1963 before delivering it in August 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Henry Ford is magnifying not just Dr. King’s dream to show where he actually laid out a plan to inspire future generations to continue their march towards justice, voting rights, and civil rights. This move is more than the preservation of a house showing where Dr. King worked and strategized. It is the continuation of a movement demonstrating very clearly that the determination of a people can never be marginalized.”

-Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, Chairman of the Detroit Branch NAACP and Member of the NAACP National Board of Directors

"The Henry Ford has been an exceptional steward of artifacts that tell our nation's stories of innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness. Its unparalleled collections documenting the American experience preserve our shared history and inspire each of us to help create a better future. With its recent acquisition of the Jackson House, The Henry Ford will be able to present the story of its prominent role in the early days of the modern American civil rights movement and the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to millions of visitors."

-Neil Barclay, President of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Before one of the marches, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holds a strategy meeting in the back bedroom of the Jackson home. Source: Jet Magazine  

"The home of Dr. Sullivan Jackson and his wife Richie Jean recently pictured in its original location at 1416 Lapsley Ave., Selma, Alabama."  

“March 15th, 1965: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. watches Lyndon B. Johnson’s joint message to Congress on voting rights from the living room of the Jackson home.” Source: Life Magazine.  

Jawana Jackson, CEO of The Sullivan and Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson Foundation and Museum and steward of the Jackson House, stands in front of a picture of her parents -- friends of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

Photographer Peter Pettus captured scenes from the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. As a bystander not associated with the press, Pettus’ photographs captured a more intimate snapshot of the events & people involved. Source: Library of Congress