Joanne Barnes Jackson, activist and developer, dies at 68

Jackson
Jackson
Posted: November 12, 2010

One doesn't sell one's soul lightly. Unless one is truly committed to a cause that will improve the lives of needy people.

Speaking metaphorically, of course, Joanne Barnes Jackson, contemplating the incomplete work her organization was doing to rehab a chunk of North Philadelphia in 2001 and bring in commercial development, told Daily News columnist Elmer Smith:

"I'd sell my soul for a Wawa. But I've sold it so many times now."

That kind of commitment and dedication marked the life of Joanne Jackson as she worked for years to restore the many blocks of crumbling homes in her native city that may have seemed lost to decay and indifference.

Joanne Jackson, former executive director of the Advocate Community Development Corp., which transformed hundreds of dilapidated homes into low- and moderate-income residences in North Philadelphia, and a longtime community activist and city planner, died Oct. 29 of cardiovascular disease. She was 68 and lived in University City.

She was born in Philadelphia to Joseph Oliver Barnes and Harriet Tobin Barnes. She was raised in Overbrook Farms and graduated from the Lankenau School for Girls in 1960.

She later received a bachelor's degree in anthropology from Temple University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

After moving the family to University City, Joanne became interested in urban issues and went back to school. She earned a master's degree in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as a planner specializing in cultural heritage and urban parks.

Among her many projects were the Albany Cultural Heritage District; the Seaway Trail, in New York State; and the Greenbelt, on Staten Island.

In the 1980s, as a board member of Cedar Park Neighbors, Joanne played a major role in the development of the Firehouse Farmers Market, at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

She also worked to promote literacy in the North Philadelphia area and helped found Tree House Books, at Susquehanna Avenue and Broad Street.

She is survived by a daughter, Judy Jackson; a son, Christopher Jackson, and four grandchildren.

Services: Memorial service 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at Calvary Community Center, 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Memorial donations may be made to the Scholarship Fund of Cedar Park Neighbors, Calvary Community Center, 4740 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia 19143.

|
|
|
|
|