Lonnie Jackson Honored at CSU's Black Applause Banquet

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University will honor longtime community activist Lonnie Jackson during CSUs 24th annual Black Applause Banquet on Friday, Feb. 23 in the Cunningham Center. A 6:30 p.m. reception will be followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets, $25 each, must be purchased in advance, and are available by calling 706-568-2273.

The event will feature recognitions of outstanding local high school and CSU students, and the presentation of the Dr. John Townsend Achievement Award, recognizing outstanding community service and leadership. The award is in honor of Townsend, the first African-American to enroll at CSU.

LonnieThis years Townsend honoree is Lonnie Jackson, left, who died in September 2006 at age 77. The award will be presented to Jacksons daughter, Lonya Jackson-Sarden on behalf of Combined Communities of Southeast Columbus (CCSC), a service organization founded by Jackson in 1983.

The CCSC particularly is noted for its ongoing academic tutorial program that has served more than 26,000 K-8 students in the past 25 years. Under Jacksons guidance, the program also flourished by incorporating local, certified teachers and aides who have tutored the students at various local elementary schools. CSU students, among others in the community, also have supported the program as volunteers.

A citywide voting awareness campaign is another CCSC endeavor Jackson developed and steered. He also initiated anti-litter and community beautification campaigns, including Operation Esprit de Corps, Litter-Free Schools and the MLK Pride Month Clean Up Drive.

Jackson, who retired in 1972 from the U.S. Army as Sergeant First Class, also co-founded the committees that established the Vietnam Memorial Park at the corner of Buena Vista Road and Lawyers Lane in Columbus. The memorial honors 119 soldiers fallen comrades of Jackson, a Korean War veteran, who also served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

Jacksons service to Columbus and the surrounding region has earned numerous state and local honors, as well as national recognition. In 1993, he received the Presidents Volunteer Action Award from President Bill Clinton and the Points of Light Foundation. Jackson also received a 2001 Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service.

CSU President Frank Brown said the university is privileged to formally recognize Jackson and his legacy. Our friend Lonnie Jackson had a heart for service. His outstanding community work on behalf of students, and in building pride in our neighborhoods and our country, will not soon be forgotten. We are honored at CSU to place his name in the universitys records as one who truly made a difference.

In addition to honoring Jackson and recognizing local students, the Black Applause Banquet will feature keynote speaker Bismarck Myrick, former U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho and Republic of Liberia. He is a professor of history and political science at Old Dominion University, a senior fellow at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., and he serves on the World Affairs Council among various other bodies.