Profile: Vera Jackson (1912-1999)

Vera Jackson was a “pioneer woman photographer in the black press”. She photographed African-American social life and celebrity culture in the 1930s and 1940s Los Angeles. Noted photographic subjects included major league baseball player Jackie Robinson, educator Mary McLeod Bethune, and actresses Dorothy Dandridge, Hattie McDaniel and Lena Horne.


Jackson was a freelance photographer with the California Eagle. Editor Charlotta Bass later hired her as a staff photographer and often paired her to work with society editor Jessie Mae Brown (later Jessie Brown Beavers) until Brown left for the Los Angeles Sentinel.

When Jackson left the California Eagle, she earned both her B.A. (1952) and Master’s (1954) in education and became a Los Angeles University School District teacher. She retired after 25 years.

During her teaching career, Jackson continued with freelance photography. Her work has been exhibited at the UCLA Gallery, the Riverside Art Museum, the Black Gallery of Los Angeles, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as well as the Los Angeles Country Public Library, the Afro-American Museum of History and Culture in Los Angeles and the Museum of Art in San Francisco.

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