The Christian Association of Businesses (CAB) recently held its first annual Chicago Black Wall Street Awards dinner on December 13 to honor 10 people. The dinner was established to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the destruction of Tulsa Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street District by recognizing individuals in the Chicagoland area who have made a difference in the lives of others in the Black community.
Eric Knowles, president of the Christian Association of Businesses, started CAB in 2016 with a meeting focused on finding solutions to the violence plaguing the Black community. One of the honorees that spoke at the first “Stop the Violence Solutions” meeting was the late Phillip Jackson.
Phillip Jackson, founder of The Black Star Project (1996), had a very successful professional career in the private and public sector, which also included the city of Chicago, CPS and CHA. During his tenure at the Chicago Public Schools, Phillip became acutely aware of the racial academic achievement gap, both in Chicago and nationwide, and eventually founded The Black Star Project in 1996.
In 1999, he became the CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). During his dynamic stewardship of the CHA, Jackson negotiated a $1.6 billion deal with the federal government to transform public housing in Chicago with a focus on residents’ quality of life. In 2000, he moved to the Office of the Mayor for the city of Chicago, where he served as Chief of Education.
After serving as President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago for one year, he elected in 2002 to devote himself full time to The Black Star Project. As the Executive Director of The Black Star Project, he became a national leader advocating for community involvement in education and the importance of parental development to ensure the proper education of children.
Phillip received many awards for his work, passing away on November 4, 2018. On June 19, 2021 (Juneteenth) the corner of 35th and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in Chicago was renamed Phillip Jackson Parkway in his honor.
Jackson’s legacy was among the 10 individuals honored for turning a negative into a positive by their achievements and contributions as business leaders. The Black Star Project Executive Director Gloria Smith accepted the Chicago Black Wall Street Award on behalf of her brother.