In Memory of Clyde Owen Jackson
Dr. Clyde Owen Jackson, class of 1949, died on Monday, July 11th in Houston, Texas at the age of 89. He twice served as interim director of the Tuskegee University Golden Voices Concert Choir – 1990-1993 and 1999-2001 – and was the founding director of the William Levi Dawson Alumni Choir at Tuskegee University in 1990. Tuskegee University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2010.
Quiet and unassuming, Mr. Jackson was a consummate educator and passionate musician. As a member of the Tuskegee Choir under William Levi Dawson, he became his personal assistant and devoted disciple. After earning the Bachelor of Science degree from Tuskegee University in 1949, he went on to Texas Southern University, where he earned both the Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees. Thus began a storied musical career, which included founder-conductor of the 63rd Army Infantry Regiment Chorus, the Texas Southern University Men’s Glee Club, the Houston Post Office Chorale, choirs at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church of Houston, and many prominent guest conducting engagements. Mr. Jackson was active with the Houston Ebony Opera Guild as interim artistic director, choral conductor, lecturer, and board member. He also found time to compose.
Mr. Jackson was a prolific writer, having authored eight books, including The Songs of Our Years, a study of Negro Folk Music (spirituals), and Come Like the Benediction, a tribute to Tuskegee. Called a versatile journalist by Ebony magazine, he served as editor of the Omaha Guide, the Arkansas State Press and the Texas Informer Group of Newspapers. He also published a quarterly periodical until his death.
Truly a Renaissance Man, Mr. Jackson was named the first African-American Postmaster of Galveston, Texas in 1978. As a community activist, he was the founder of the Foot-washing Ministry to the Downtown Homeless in Houston; Citizens Opposing Violence Through Anger Control (COVAC); Citizens Against Drug Abuse; and Reading For Purpose. He won numerous awards over the years in each of his chosen vocations.
His former Tuskegee University students remember Mr. Jackson as a tireless teacher of the musical art and of life lessons, and as one who successfully made the Negro folk songs relevant to current events. Mother Tuskegee is better for the life and work of her Diligent Son. The legacy of Dr. Clyde Owen Jackson lives on in those who were privileged to have been his students, colleagues and friends.
– From Tuskegee University
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