A Tribute To The Legacy Of Professor Luther P. Jackson, Jr.,The Most Influential Educator Of My Professional Life

Sunday, May 22, 2011 14:26
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A Tribute To The Legacy Of Professor Luther P. Jackson, Jr.,The Most Influential Educator Of My Professional Life

The late Professor Luther P. Jackson, Jr., who tortured me in grad school with stinging criticism of my writing and reporting, was honored earlier this year with an endowed scholarship.

 
The Black Alumni Network, in reporting that Jackson’s legacy is being honored with the endowment, notes prominently that Jackson was The School’s first black professor.

 

“Being the first of anything is not easy,” says Reginald Stuart, a former reporter at The New York Times who wrote the article about the endowment.   
 
Indeed, Jackson was a black pioneer, and made an important contribution to society in that regard.
 
For the record, though, I’m white and Jewish and Prof. Jackson has been a huge influence on my professional life.
 
Jackson was my professor for Reporting & Writing I, which back in 1979 was held three times weekly. It was the toughest class I ever took.
 
In a weekly meeting to critique my work, Jackson once looked at me and said, “Gluck, you’re a great writer, but I don’t know that you will ever be a great reporter.”
 
He would criticize me—and other students—in just the right way to get under our skin. That’s why I want to point out that Prof. Jackson was way more than skin deep.
 
I’ve spent many years trying to prove Jackson wrong about me and trying to live up to the standards he set.
 
Jackson didn’t care that I was white and I didn’t care that he was black. Luther P. Jackson, Jr., was simply a man to respect. I feared him, and I desperately wanted his approval.
 
Jackson graded me with a “P” back in 1979, but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped trying to live up to the standards he set. Endowing a scholarship acknowledging Jackson’s contributions is an honor well deserved.

 

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