E. Jackson, World War II veteran

Posted: September 23, 2001

Edward E. Jackson, 80, of Philadelphia, one of thousands of blacks who helped to integrate the military in World War II, died Wednesday of heart failure at Nazareth Hospital.

After the war, Mr. Jackson kept in touch with his Army comrades through an association of veterans that held reunions in various cities. He served as president of the 99th Infantry Division Association in 1999 and helped bring the reunion to Philadelphia in July 2000.

Mr. Jackson was born and raised in the city's Tacony section, later moving to the Holmesburg area as an adult.

He was drafted and assigned to the 366th Engineer Regiment in December 1942, then shipped to Kansas for basic training. From there, his group went to Tennessee and New York for more training before going overseas.

His unit's main responsibility was road maintenance - not fighting, his family said.

But after the heavy casualties of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, thousands of black soldiers volunteered to fight. One of those was Mr. Jackson.

He married Eloise Rice in 1949, and they had four children.

As a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Holmesburg, he served as a trustee for 50 years. He also sang in choirs and in other churches around the region.

Mr. Jackson worked with the Philadelphia Police Department as a communications worker, handling mail. He retired in 1980.

In addition to his wife of 52 years, he is survived by sons, Clarence and H. Christopher, daughter Toya, and many grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Janice.

A viewing will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mount Zion Baptist Church at Welsh Road and Erdrick Street in Philadelphia. Services will follow.

Leonard N. Fleming's e-mail address is lfleming@phillynews.com.

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