Historic Significance of the Site
John Wesley Jackson, born in Johnson City, TN in the mid to late 1870s, was an Alexandria entrepreneur. He was both a professional baker for wholesale and retail customers, and one of the first Black hoteliers in Alexandria.
In 1917 he purchased the land and building at the corner of Pendleton and Henry Streets. The property was licensed as both a rooming house and a bakery. The Pendleton Street side doubled as residence and hotel for African Americans during the Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement eras. It was the only place Black service workers could stay in the first half of the 20th century due to the segregation of hotels. The site was also used for Emancipation Day celebrations, community meetings, and political debates. Well-known African Americans, including Magnus Robinson and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad stayed at Mr. Jackson's establishment when they were traveling through Alexandria.
The bakery was on the Henry Street side of the property. Mr. Jackson earned two nicknames from his excellence in the business: "Baker Jackson" and "Pie Jackson." He delivered wholesale goods to Alexandria merchants. There was also a thriving retail business on site.
The property was also the family residence where Mr. Jackson and his wife Corinne raised their 3 children. In addition the heading his family, Jackson ensured the children were educated by driving them to and from school, including Parker Gray in Alexandria and Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. He also educated his family in entrepreneurship as they worked under his tutelage in the bakery business.
Upon Mr. Jackson's death in 1949 his daughter, Corinne (named after her mother), bought her siblings' interests in the property. Corinne Jackson Lea Dixon continued the rooming house operation until her death in 2015. Mrs. Dixon's daughter, Janice Lea Wardlaw Howard now maintains the property as a rooming house.