The Jackson-Community House
In 1853, Jefferson Franklin Jackson, a native Alabamian and U.S. Attorney for the Alabama Middle District, built this two-story clapboard home originally with a dogtrot pattern. A Whig Party member, by 1862, Jackson was a wealthy land and slave owner who lived here with his wife and four children. By 1900, Jackson's descendants had added a rear wing to the house and enclosed the back porch.
In 1943, the Montgomery City Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, led by Mrs. Zenobia Johnson, purchased the Jackson homestead. Now known as the Community House, the facility served diverse needs of Montgomery's segregated black population by providing kindergarten, tutors, counseling, voter registration, civic programs, social activities, and a library. As headquarters of the Montgomery City Federation of Women's Clubs, the property has been a center of support for many women's groups including its state organization, Girl Scouts, debutantes, needy mothers, and the Women's Political Council, the group that launched the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The Montgomery City Federation of Women's Clubs
The Montgomery City Federation of Women's Clubs, established in 1939 to strengthen "Colored Women's Clubs" and youth affiliates, expanded opportunities for blacks in Montgomery, particularly when virulent racial segregation suppressed them. In 1943, the federation established headquarters here at 409 South Union Street, which it named the Community House. Prior to the founding of the MCFWC, two pre-existing clubs, the Ten Times One is Ten (1888) and the Anna M. Duncan (1897) advanced state clubwomen's development of the Mt. Meigs facility for delinquent boys (1908) and another for girls (1919), which the State of Alabama operates today. Later, in 1939 the MCFWC, which included the Phyllis Wheatley Art and Literary Club (1928), joined forces with the sponsor of these projects, the Alabama Association of Colored Women's Club, and its regional and national tiers. In that same year, the Agnes J. Lewis, Dora Beverly, and Les Comrades were launched. Subsequently, the Sojourner Truth (1946) and the Excelisor (1947) became federated clubs. With a motto "Lifting as We Climb", the MCFWC and its affiliates remain in existence to further their historic tradition of community service.