Fay M. Jackson

Fay M. Jackson (May 8, 1902 — June 3, 1979) was an American journalist based in Los Angeles.

Fay M. Jackson
Fay M. Jackson, from a 1937 publication.
Fay M. Jackson, from a 1937 publication.
BornMay 8, 1902
Dallas, Texas
DiedJune 3, 1979
Los Angeles, California
Known forfirst black Hollywood correspondent, international reporting

Early lifeEdit

Fay M. Jackson was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Charles T. Jackson and Lulu Beatrice Hyson Jackson. Her father was a tradesman, a concrete mason, and her mother was a seamstress. She moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was 16, and graduated from Los Angeles Polytechnic High School. She studied journalism and philosophy at the University of Southern California.[1]


Jackson launched Flash, a news weekly, in 1928, and had a column in over 200 newspapers. She was the first credentialed black Hollywood correspondent, but also covered domestic and international political and cultural topics. Charlotta Bass and Claude Albert Barnett were her mentors. "Young and aggressive, Miss Jackson's varied experiences in newspaper work fits her admirably for the duties we have assigned her and we have every belief that she will set a high standard in American Negro journalism," Barnett said in 1937."[2]

In 1932, Fay M. Jackson directed publicity for the re-election campaign of white Senator Samuel M. Shortridge.[3] In 1937, Jackson and Rudolph Dunbar were the only black reporters[4] admitted to Westminster Abbey to cover the coronation of George VI,[5] Jackson as foreign correspondent for the Associated Negro Press (ANP).[6][7] In 1938, she founded the Cinema League of Colored Peoples, to shape the representation of racial minority characters and stories in Hollywood films.[8] She was also press agent for soprano Ruby Elzy in the 1930s.[9]

During World War II she worked for the War Department on housing issues, and she earned a realtor's license in the 1950s. She was active in the NAACP in Los Angeles.[10][11]

Personal life and legacyEdit

Jackson married John Marshall Robinson Jr. in 1924;[12] they had a daughter, Joan Fay Robinson, in 1926, and divorced before 1940. In the 1950s she became a devout Roman Catholic. In 1962 she founded the Our Lady of Africa Guild, to raise funds for missionary work.[13] Fay M. Jackson died in 1979, aged 77 years, soon after learning that her daughter had died in a plane crash. In 2000, a collection of her clippings, photographs, and other papers was displayed at the University of Southern California.[1]


  1. ^ a b Libby Clark, "Collection on View in USC's Louis Hall: Fay M. Jackson, Hollywood's First African American Publicist/Film Specialist" Los Angeles Sentinel (March 8, 2000): C9. via ProQuest
  2. ^ "Brilliant Writer to Tour Europe and Observe the Racial Slants, New News" Pittsburgh Courier (January 9, 1937): 8. via Newspapers.com
  3. ^ "To Direct Publicity" Pittsburgh Courier (June 25, 1932): 1. via Newspapers.com
  4. ^ "Fay Jackson Triumphs!" Pittsburgh Courier (May 22, 1937): 8. via Newspapers.com
  5. ^ Rebecca J. Scott, Jean M Hébrard, Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press 2012): 173-174. ISBN 9780674065161
  6. ^ Penelope McMillan, "Granddaughter Keeps Memory of Pioneering Black Journalist Vivid" Los Angeles Times (September 5, 1988).
  7. ^ Thomas Cripps, Making Movies Black: The Hollywood Message Movie from World War II to the Civil Rights Era (Oxford University Press 1993): 11. ISBN 9780195360349
  8. ^ Chris Robé, Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (University of Texas Press 2011): 178-179. ISBN 9780292737532
  9. ^ David E. Weaver, Black Diva of the Thirties: The Life of Ruby Elzy (University Press of Mississippi 2009). ISBN 9781628467536
  10. ^ Cristina Mislan, Rachel Grant and Jinx C. Broussard, "'Larger than life': Celebrity journalism, gender and black politics in Fay M. Jackson’s Hollywood adventures, 1933–1935" Celebrity Studies 9(1)(2018): 1-16.
  11. ^ Lae'l I. Hughes-Watkins, "Fay M. Jackson and the Color Line: The First African American Foreign Correspondent for the Associated Negro Press" Journal of Pan-African Studies 3(2)(September 2009): 119-134.
  12. ^ Intellectual/Activist/Covered Coronation of King George VI; Fay M. Jackson, Nation's First Global Black Female Journalist" Los Angeles Sentinel (March 11, 2004): C7. via ProQuest
  13. ^ "Everybody's Happy" California Eagle (October 24, 1963): 8. via Internet Archive 

External linksEdit