Black Star Project Honors Memory of Late Founder Phillip Jackson with 25th Anniversary Celebration

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Jackson founded the Black Star Project (TBSP) in 1996 to provide educational services that improve the lives of less advantaged black communities and to close the racial gap in educational achievement. TBSP accomplishes its mission by educating, organizing and mobilizing parents and volunteers, and working with community partners to facilitate a wide variety of strong programs, high profile campaigns and other special initiatives.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with Honors from Roosevelt University in 1974, he was quickly promoted from Stock Clerk to Assistant Manager at the Kroch and Brentano Bookstore, where he had worked since 1969.

In 1995, he joined the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) transition team with Paul Vallas. During his five-year tenure, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Chief of Staff. Jackson helped CPS secure the most contracts in Chicago history with black, Latino, and female-owned businesses.

AN AFRICAN DANCER on stilts dances to drums to kick off the Black Star Project’s 25th anniversary celebration. (Photo by Erick Johnson)

In 1999, Jackson became the CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). During his dynamic management of the CHA, Jackson negotiated a $ 1.6 billion deal with the federal government to transform public housing in Chicago with a focus on residents’ quality of life, not just bricks. and mortar.

Following this concept, Jackson worked to improve living conditions in social housing for young residents. He even made sure that all the children received books as gifts during the holiday season. His hands-on approach was to visit each building several times a week to chat with residents and take note of the condition of the grounds and repairs.

He designed an award-winning summer school program from which 92 percent of failed Grade 8 participants made sufficient summer progress to be promoted to high school. The average success rate for the same population across the city hovered around 63 percent.


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