Dr. A. C. Jackson: "Hands of Peace"
Prominent professionals like Dr. A.C. Jackson transcended, if only temporarily, the color line. Dr. Jackson, christened the most able Negro surgeon in America by the Mayo brothers (of Mayo Clinic fame), treated patients of all races.
The most prominent Tulsan killed in the riot was Dr. A.C. Jackson, a 40-year-old surgeon living at 523 N. Detroit Ave. According to Jackson's white neighbor, former police commissioner and retired judge John Oliphant, Jackson had raised his hands to surrender to a group of whites when two of them shot Jackson dead in what Oliphant called "cold-blooded murder."
Born in Memphis and raised in Guthrie, where his father was a law officer, Dr. Jackson graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, practiced for awhile in Tulsa and Claremore, then trained as a surgeon in Memphis. His work was such that he attracted the attention of the Mayo Brothers, and in 1919 he returned to Tulsa as a specialist in "chronic diseases and surgery for women."
Dr. Jackson lived on what was one of the most exclusive blocks in all of Greenwood. His neighbors included Booker T. Washington High School principal E.W. Woods, Tulsa Star publisher A.J. Smitherman and physician R.T. Bridgewater.
Dr. Jackson created some of the most innovative surgical tools that are still being used today post modifications and surgical and technological advancements. Surgical students the world over have been influenced by this great surgeon's contribution to the medical community.
Why Dr. Jackson, one of the gentlest of men, would have been singled out is not known. Perhaps he was mistaken for the more outspoken Smitherman or Bridgewater. Perhaps he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The riot had all but died down, Oliphant said, when Dr. Jackson "came walking toward me with his hands in the air. ''ere am I. I want to go with you,' he said. A body of about seven men, all armed, intercepted him and two young fellows fired on him. He fell to the ground and one of the men fired again."
Others detailed that Dr. Jackson died tragically in the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot ("the "Holocaust"), the worst of the so-called "race riots" in early twentieth century America. Gunned down by a white teenager while surrendering at his residence, Dr. Jackson, lacking medical attention, bled to death.
Dr. Jackson's killers were never identified.
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