By Bill Parry
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) inducted Andrew Jackson into the New York State Veterans’ Hall of Fame Tuesday. The Hall of Fame pays tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by their service to their community. Jackson, also known as Sekou Molefi Baako, served in the U.S. Air Force between 1964 and 1968 and was assigned to the 4th Air Commando Squadron at Nha Trang Air Base in Vietnam.
Jackson was selected as First Term Airman of the Year. He also received the Bronze Star Medal and Distinguished Unit Citation, and received an honorable discharge with the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-5).
“It’s an honor to recognize the brave men and women who served our great nation and protected our freedom,” Peralta said. “The Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame pays tribute to all those who serve, but singles out special recognition of those whose sacrifices and service have helped make our communities better places to live, and Mr. Jackson is a clear example of that.”
Jackson has served as the executive director of the Queens Library Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona since 1980. The East Elmhurst product is set to retire in July.
For the past decade he has been an adjunct instructor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies and has been teaching Black Studies and Cultural Diversity at York College since 2001. Jackson serves as chairman of the Queens Borough President’s African American Planning Committee.
He is a founding member of the Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society and is also a member of the York College President’s Advisory Council. He earned his master of library science from Queens College and his bachelor of science in business administration from York College.
Jackson is an award-winning author and prolific essayist. He also wrote the foreward of the ninth and tenth editions of the African American Almanac.
“Over the years, I’ve received numerous awards and honors. My military service has pretty much been ignored, so to be selected for induction has deep significance for me,” Jackson said. “Vietnam veterans still feel the pain for how we were received when we returned home from the war. I accept this high honor for all my brothers-in-arms who never came home, as well as those of us who left part of ourselves somewhere in Vietnam. None of us came home unscathed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr