Elaine Jackson

Elaine Jackson (b. 1943) emerged as a playwright in the 1970s, a socially and politically dynamic moment in the nation’s history and a renascence decade for black theater. Beginning with her early play Toe Jam (1971) and continuing through her later plays of the 1970s and 1980s, Jackson presents a sometimes dark but inevitably celebratory vision of women in the process of confronting their lives and re-envisioning them. She, along with other black female dramatists of the period, working within the unique cultural climate created by the Black Power movement and the women’s movement, helped to forge a vitally important theatrical space in which the lives of women of color found not only a stage presence but an authentic voice.

Born in Detroit to Essie and Charlie Jackson, the playwright began her theatrical career as an actress. After attending Wayne State University, where she majored in speech and education, Jackson moved to California to pursue her acting career. She performed in more than forty plays in Michigan, California, and New York (Off-Broadway).

In 1972, while Jackson was still working as an actress on the West Coast, two of her former theater colleagues from Detroit, Woodie King, Jr., and Ron Milner, published Toe Jam in the Black Drama Anthology, a seminal collection of works by twenty-two black dramatists, including Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka. – Oxford Reference

NFT Credits

Credit Type Production Season
PlaywrightToe Jam 1975-76 Season
PlaywrightPuberty Rites 2011-12 Season
Actor Toe Jam 1975-76 Season
Actor African Interlude 1977-78 Season