Our Black History Month Profiles were first written for the February 2020 Northport Historical Society newsletters.
Thelma Abidally Jackson was born in Virginia and moved to East Northport in 1996. Soon after arriving, she began a mission to find and document the untold stories of African American history in Northport. After conducting archival research and interviewing the descendants of some of Northport's early Black residents, she published her book “African Americans in Northport, An Untold Story” in 2000. The book covers over 300 years of history and focuses especially on families who worshiped at the black Allen A.M.E. Church on Church Street, including three generations of the Wood family. Thomas Wood is remembered as a member of the 1921 Northport High School varsity basketball team, both an employee and close friend of the Quackenbush family, and an important part of the Northport Allen A.M.E. Church community until its dissolution in 1955.
Jackson’s research also led her to discover that Booker T. Washington, the famous African American educator and activist, had owned a summer home in Fort Salonga. After the publication of her book, Jackson turned her attention to petitioning the Town of Huntington to create a landmark designation for the house. She personally paid for the erection of the historic marker placed in front of the house in 2003.
Ms. Jackson has made tremendous contributions to Northport by uncovering and highlighting the history of African Americans who are so often left out of history books.
Her book can be found in both public libraries, and in the Northport High School library. Copies can also be purchased at the Northport Historical Society for $18.95 plus tax.
Email: [email protected] to order your copy.