Dr. Espanola Jackson

Dr. Espanola Jackson has been fighting for minority rights since she moved to San Francisco 70 years ago. Her perspective on the Bayview neighborhood is rooted in the deep love she has for her community.


Dr. Espanola Jackson

80 years old
Mother of six children
First in her family to attend college

A woman’s fight for human rights

Dr. Jackson’s remembers her childhood in San Francisco fondly. Doors were left unlocked, neighbors knew each other, and “everyone went to church.” Her own mother was an employee of a local restaurant chain, and Espenola grew up knowing family and friends who had jobs all over the city. From hotel maids to cooks to mannequin dressers at Macy’s, Dr. Jackson dispels the myth that the shipyard was the major draw for employment in the city.

Less fondly, Espanola recalls a broken school system, where she was placed in special education as a 5th grader and denied the chance to take English and literature classes. Later, she had to re-take classes in Texas to make up for the deficiencies.

Passionate about the people around her, and determined to right the wrongs she saw, Dr. Jackson became a voice for the community. She participated in protests and rallies, helping to secure jobs for minority groups on the police force, in the fire station, and at banks and car dealerships. Learn more about Dr. Jackson’s incredible journey — and hear firsthand the passion she has for improving San Francisco for everyone who lives there.

“I would like to say that we don’t make the drugs, and we don’t make the guns, either, but they’re coming into our community.”