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Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson was a dynamic figure in Baltimore, leading a charge in the city for equal rights for its Black citizens.

Known to some as the “Mother of Freedom,” Mrs. Jackson’s fight against racism led the way for her descendants to add to her impressive legacy. Born on May 25, 1889 in Charm City, Jackson graduated from public school and began teaching. The shift from educating the young to fighting for civil rights happened under tense circumstances.

While undergoing emergency surgery in 1918 for mastoiditis, a skull infection, she prayed to God to spare her life so that she could raise her children and be of service to people according to family accounts. From then, Jackson became a strong adversary of Jim Crow practices in Baltimore and beyond.

She joined forces with one of her two daughters, Juanita, in sponsoring the City-Wide Young Peoples forum in the ’30s. The group launched an effective “Buy Where You Can Work” campaign, which urged Black shoppers to only support businesses that didn’t discriminate against them based on race.

At the suggestion of Dr. Carl Murphy, son of Baltimore Afro-American newspaper founder John Murphy, she joined forces with the local NAACP and revived the chapter in 1935.

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