Linda Jackson joined the Redford Township Board of Trustees last year after receiving more votes than any other candidate. Her election is historically significant because she is Redford’s first black Trustee.
Jackson grew up in Detroit with a big family – she was one of five children. Her parents taught them “we could be whatever we wanted to be. They told us no one was better than us and not to think that we were better than anyone else.” She describes the Detroit of her youth as very different than it is now. “Most of the city had beautiful, well-maintained homes with impeccable lawns. Small businesses throughout the city thrived and provided jobs to everyone who wanted one.”
Jackson earned her BA degree in accounting from Wayne State University and later took graduate courses in taxation at the Walsh College of Accountancy and Business.
She lived in Westland for a while before moving to Redford about six years ago. In Redford, she decided to become more involved in her community than she had been in the past.
“I wanted to be more involved in decisions that affected the township. I want to help make Redford a place where people want to live, work, and play.”
She first started thinking about running for Trustee after attending meetings and watching the interactions between board members and citizens. She observed a lack of communicated follow up on citizen concerns. “Communication is the key,” she said. “People want to know that you hear them and even if you can’t resolve their issue, they need you to communicate with them.”
Since her tenure began, she has enjoyed meeting and working with many people – her fellow board members, township employees, and fellow citizens. She hopes to foster trust in township officials among Redford’s citizens. “I want them to know that we spend their tax dollars wisely and provide the best services we can. I want Redford to be a Township that people feel safe and enjoy all that the Township has to offer.”
When asked if she has an interest in history, she said, “I’m not a history buff, but I am interested in historical facts, especially the untold accomplishments of African Americans. For Black History month this year, every Sunday one of the young people in my church presents a “hidden fact” about African Americans. I am amazed at these little-known facts. I was fascinated by the movie “Hidden Figures”, but also angry about the fact that these major historical facts are just being revealed on a large scale more than 50 years after the fact.”
Among her favorite books: Know Your Limits – Then Ignore Them by John Mason
Favorite quote: Mahatma Gandhi “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Hobbies: Movies, plays, concerts, hanging out with friends and family, and reading and going to the gym, when she can squeeze it into her schedule.
Biggest influences: Her parents and her spirituality. “Keeping God’s word will always make me stop and think, what is the next right thing to do. Even when I don’t have the solution to a problem, if I just keep doing what’s right, I will eventually resolve the problem without leaving a trail of disappointments.”
Advice to young/future leaders: “Just go for it. If you know how to achieve your dream, it’s not big enough. Many told Thomas Edison he should stop trying to invent the light bulb because he had failed 750 times. He told his critics ‘I didn’t fail 750 times, I found 750 ways did not work.’”
This post was written by Stefanie Caloia, a member of the Redford Township Historical Commission from 2014 to 2019.