Celebrating Black History Month, the City of Coral Springs is proud to highlight resident, Jackie Bolden, who is a long-time City volunteer and member of numerous City-run committees.
An educator, Jackie served as School Administrator at Dover High School in NJ, before retiring to Coral Springs with her husband, Arthur, in 2001.
Jackie graciously shared her experience in fighting for civil rights in the 1960’s. Her story started while a student at Hampton University, Virginia (an HBCU). It was there that civil rights activist Jesse Jackson visited the campus and Jackie, along with her girlfriends, went to hear his message regarding peaceful sit-in demonstrations of lunch counters that refused to serve African Americans. Jackie believed in the mission of peaceful protest and began participating. Soon after, Jackie and her girlfriends agreed to a sit in at a department store tearoom in Virginia. As she described it, “In the 1960’s college requirements were that women dressed elegantly to go off campus, particularly shopping. We thought the tearoom was a lovely idea and should be an interesting event, so we sat down to a lovely linen-clad table. My girlfriends and I thought all was going well, ….maybe we would be served. Suddenly, a very loud noise came from the circular staircase and the noise approached the tearoom. A loud male voice said, “if you don’t get up, we will turn it on.” There stood officers with a huge fire hose, prepared to extinguish the four of us intensely. We quickly, in heels, ran down the stairs of the department store to the bus that had transported us from campus. Once outside, our fellow male students were in handcuffs; some brought to jail, others returned with us back to campus.” That singular moment was frightening and extremely humiliating; this experience will never be forgotten, and still brought her to tears as she shared her experience. As Jackie explained, “I was so humiliated, I was so hurt, I just wanted to be respected as a human, a good human being.” From that moment on Jackie began using her voice to amplify social change as a writer for her school’s newspaper.
During her college senior year, it was a trip to Washington DC, for a very celebrated-competitive football game Hampton University vs. Howard University where Jackie’s personal life took a dramatic change. There she met her future husband, Arthur, who was a professor at Howard University. They enjoyed a courtship and after graduating from Hampton, Jackie began working at the Pentagon. Together they continued their fight for equality, and it was during the famous March on Washington organized by civil rights leader and activist of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that Arthur proposed.
After marrying Arthur and having three children: Sydne, Arthur II, and Troy, Jackie returned to higher education and earned her Ed.M., Columbia University, NYC. Together they raised their children in Whippany, New Jersey. She beamed as she spoke of the how proud she was of all three of her children, their families and their careers.
As a Coral Springs resident since 2001, Jackie enjoys participating with Coral Springs MLK as Program Chairperson; Board of Directors, Coral Springs Museum of Art; Public Art and Citizen Involved Government Committees; previously; a long- term member, The Links, Incorporated (North Broward County Chapter), who co-sponsors MLK Student Awards Program and Leadership and Diversity Day. Mayor Skip Campbell appealed to Jackie to develop a Black History Month program and she obliged. She and a colleague collaborated with the City’s Marketing Department to develop the Black History Month programming which features prominent leaders of civil rights on Coral Springs TV.
Growing up, Jackie played piano for her church, presently enjoys golf with her husband, and most importantly - participating in an international Bible study – faith is very important to her and is her foundation.
As we celebrate Black History Month, Jackie remarked on the civil rights movement, “Humanity brings us to equality and respect” She added, “Humanity and dignity of all people – a human right!”
It is women like Jackie that makes us so proud to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in our community.