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We would like to highlight the life of Andrew Joshua Jackson (1830 -1924), who is one of the most interesting and notable African Americans to live in Halifax, North Carolina.

Jackson was born enslaved on Christmas day in Amherst County, Virginia. When he was 4 years old, his slave holder sold him and his mother on the auction block in Richmond, Va., to a man who intended to take them with others to be sold in Louisiana. His mother was evidently stricken with smallpox, and her dying request was that the sales agent, Mr. George W. Barnes, take Jackson and raise him. Barnes agreed and took him home with him to Halifax and had him apprenticed to a blacksmith. The young lad became known as Jackson Barnes. When Jackson was a young man, he ran a blacksmith shop in Halifax and worked on the CSS Albemarle, a Confederate armored ram, while it was anchored in the Roanoke River in Halifax during the Civil War.

After Emancipation, Jackson dropped the surname of his former owner—Barnes—from his name and added “Andrew Joshua” to his new surname–Jackson. Andrew Joshua Jackson was very interested in the education of freedmen and used his money and influence in securing teachers in Halifax. Jackson was ordained in the First Black Baptist Church in Halifax in 1868. Rev. Andrew Joshua Jackson founded the Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church at Wilson, North Carolina, where he pastored.

He remained in Halifax all of his life. Jackson married Caroline Garrett, and they had children: Casca Jackson, a teacher; Andrew Thomas Jackson, a lawyer and graduate of Howard University; and Leonora Tecumseh Jackson, a graduate of Shaw University and a teacher. Jackson died at his home in 1924. It is for this man, not the president with the same name, that the Andrew Jackson Elementary School in Halifax was named.

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