James S. Jackson was the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, at the University of Michigan. His research focused on race and ethnicity, racism, and health and aging among Blacks in the Diaspora. He had been director of the Institute for Social Research (ISR), along with the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies, at the University of Michigan; was a past national president of both the Black Students Psychological Association and the Association of Black Psychologists; and was co-director of the National Institute on Aging-supported Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research.
He was awarded the University of Michigan’s inaugural Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award in 2017; it was promptly renamed the James S. Jackson Distinguished Career Award for Diversity Scholarship in his honor. He was also the recipient of the Robert W. Kleemeier Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in Aging from the Gerontological Society of America; the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award for Distinguished Career Contributions in Applied Psychology from the APA; the Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association; the Pearmain Prize for Excellence in Research on Aging from the University of Southern California; the Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Biomedical Sciences from the New York Academy of Medicine; and the 2019 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research.
Jackson, a Detroit native, earned his undergraduate degree at Michigan State University, his master’s degree at the University of Toledo, and his doctorate at Wayne State University. In 1971, Jackson became the first full-time African-American faculty member at the University of Michigan. In 1976, he helped to establish the Program for Research on Black Americans and its groundbreaking “National Survey of Black Americans,” considered the most extensive social, mental and physical health survey of the U.S. Black population. He served on several Boards for the National Research Council and the National Academies of Science and was a founding member of the Aging Society Research Network of the MacArthur Foundation in 2008.
In 2014, President Obama appointed Jackson to the National Science Board. Over a period of many years, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he served in many advisory capacities, including the NIH National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
James S. Jackson’s Remarks upon Receiving the AAPSS 2012 W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship