@ Weeksville Heritage Center
Nzinga Garner, Benjamin Jackson
DescriptionBenjamin Jackson was born in 1920 in Dublin, GA. His father was a piano tuner, and Benjamin learned to tune pianos from watching his father at work. Through his piano tuning business, Benjamin worked for the performers Moms Mabley and Brook Benton. In addition to tuning pianos, Benjamin was a singer, and often performed at the Apollo Theater. Benjamin moved to New York in the 1940s to find work. His first job in New York was as an elevator operator at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights. He recalls that the hotel’s pool was segregated at that time. He also worked for the New York Housing Authority, first at the Kingsborough Houses. While at Kingsborough, he got into an altercation with the building’s manager, who called him a “nigger”. Benjamin punched the manager, and was transferred to work at the Red Hook Houses. Eventually, the manager apologized, and Benjamin returned to working at the Kingsborough Houses. Benjamin never married, but had three long-term girlfriends. His first girlfriend he met in New York, and lived with on Dean Street, near Bergen Street. Lucille died in February of 1967. He next became involved with a practical nurse, with whom he had his daughter, Barbara. Barbara still lives in Brooklyn, near the Navy Yards. He also was involved with a married woman from South Carolina, who worked as an ambulance driver: Benjamin taught her how to drive for her job. Benjamin is a member of the Kingsborough Senior Center, and is a...
Oral History Wav
Nzinga Garner, Benjamin Jackson, Meron Tebeje