Who We Are


We are a collaborative.

Neighborhood Cypher Team

In 2005, we had the great luck to begin listening to the life histories of people who work, live, worship, play and serve in the many neighborhoods that make up Chapel Hill’s historic Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods. Listening drew us into relationships that challenged our sense of who we are and what we are obliged to do. Collective awe and commitment soon became working in close collaboration with members of St. Joseph C.M.E. (our home), local leaders and coalitions, and the many neighbors and friends who so generously offered their stories, concerns, and wisdom. Their views knit us into a team dedicated to building a vibrant organization from “the ground up,” one as responsive to the untold abundance we found here as to the needs expressed and visions shared.

It is in the midst of struggle
that dreams become a reality.
It’s in the midst of struggle
that dreams take on new meaning and
provide new hope for those who are oppressed
and struggling.

We are history.

Mrs. Marian Cheek Jackson and Bishop Thomas Hoyt, Jr. at the 110th Anniversary of St. Joseph CME.

Our roots are as deep as the past that brought the first freed men and former sharecroppers to live and work in the Northside and as wide as the families that grew here, the businesses that made up a local economy, the schools and churches that nurtured faith in freedom and accomplishment. Listening, we have also learned that the history we are privileged to share is not the past only but the struggle to create a present and future built on its wealth. The Jackson Center takes its motto from Mrs. Marian Cheek Jackson—“without the past, you have no future”—and its inspiration from stories about making history, everyday, in small and large ways, including telling stories that look back in order to look forward. Hence we became The Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History. History, as we understand it, is a dynamic process of change led by values as hard and proud as the stone with which forefathers built the walls that surround the university campus.

What has sustained this community
is the cohesiveness of brothers and sisters working together.

What has sustained this community
has not been brick and mortar.

What has sustained this community has been faith.

We are community.

We are a BIG community.

To continue reading go to Who We Are.

Neighborhood Stories


We have begun to feature stories from around the Northside neighborhood using interviews from our “Facing Our Neighbors” initiative and the extensive local history collection of the Southern Oral History Program. Visit our Jackson Center Histories page to view these collections. Our next project is “Histories of Homes,” which will specifically attend to the histories of the homes and neighborhoods that make up Northside/Pine Knolls and the challenge for African American and lower income residents to continue to live and thrive in them. If you are interested taking part in this initiative, please contact us!

Youth Voices


Fusion Youth Radio (FYR) is a diverse group of young people with a desire to make their voices a part of history through creative, youth-produced media. FYR is a collaboration of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History, Sacrificial Poets, and WXYC. FYR is rooted in the idea that our youth must take active roles in shaping the futures of our communities.

Listen online to pieces produced by FYR youth.

Community Action


Our community organizing work is grounded in the powers of coalition and partnership building and guided by remarkable community leadership. All of our fair housing and neighborhood advocacy efforts have started with dozens of oral histories, crowded community forums, and continual dialogue in order to build our community power.  Click to read more about our work in the community.