YWCA and World War II
on the Move
Patricia A. Schechter
H. Jackson served the YWCA of Portland for three and a half years, and
in that time, she made history. Jackson was the first African-American
woman in the country to hold the position of associate executive director
of a city YWCA. Jackson was well-prepared for her assignment, having extensive
experience and training before coming to Portland in 1946. Born in Texas,
she graduated from Bishop College in Dallas and did graduate study at
the University of Chicago. Returning to Dallas after her studies, she
worked as a teacher of English at the high school and college levels and
did professional social work focusing on youth. Right before coming to
Portland, Jackson had been executive director of a YWCA in Wilmington,
Delaware for six years, in a center that was jointly operated with the
YMCA. In Portland, she initially served the YWCA as a "consultant
on interracial matters" and youth remained a strong focus of her
interest. She soon organized interracial clubs for working women, both
"business" and "industrial" girls. Under Jackson's
leadership, according to one board member, "marked progress has been
made in creating a wholesome relationship and in developing understanding
between staff, volunteers, members, and the community."
The appointment of Essie L. Maguire as executive director of the Portland
YWCA seemed to create difficulties for Jackson. These difficulties, combined
with an opportunity to return to Texas as director of the Pinestreet Branch
YWCA in San Antonio, apparently lead to Jackson's resignation in early
Staff, c. 1947
Marjorie Jackson is seated
in the center front
"YWCA Names Mrs. Jackson to Associate Director Post," clipping,
c. 1946, Portland YWCA Archives, Portland, Oregon. "YWCA Official
Resigns Post," The Oregonian, 11 February 1949.
On tensions between Jackson and Maguire, who joined the staff as Executive
Director in 1946, see "Reports and Progress, 1943-1949,"
in which numerous memos between Maguire and Jackson indicate communication
difficulties and tensions over dividing and sharing responsibilities.
Box C, Portland YWCA Archives, Portland, Oregon.
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