The University Record, March 4, 2002


Murray Jackson

Murray Jackson, a poet, retired college professor and community and civil rights activist, died Feb. 5 following a lengthy illness. He was 75.

The U-M offered Jackson a tenured faculty position in 1972 that he held until his appointment as associate professor emeritus of urban higher education in 1992. He also served as acting director of the University’s Center for the Study of Higher Education.

Most of Jackson’s professional and community service efforts were directed to the metropolitan Detroit area. He maintained a lifelong commitment to community building, civil rights and education while also achieving notoriety in literary circles as a poet.

Following his service in the Navy Seabees during World War II, he returned to Detroit and entered Wayne State University as a student, rejecting a recruiting contract from the major league baseball club known as the Brooklyn Dodgers. He graduated from Wayne State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the humanities and began his career as an academic adviser in the College of Liberal Arts at Wayne State.

Jackson’s affiliation with Wayne State continued throughout his life both as an administrator, teacher, and as an elected member of the university’s Board of Governors, 1981–2001.

“Murray Jackson gave his magnificent intellect to the world and his heart to higher education, especially to Wayne State University,” says President Irvin D. Reid. “On behalf of the entire university community I have expressed my deepest sympathy to Governor Jackson’s family. We identify with their grief, for we have lost an engaging colleague, and we all are diminished by his passing,” Reid says. The Board also awarded Jackson an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Among other significant achievements in higher education, he was instrumental in founding Detroit’s first urban college and was appointed Founding President of Wayne County Community College in 1967. Jackson’s cultural contributions to both Detroit and the nation have been numerous throughout his lifetime. He served as the first executive director of the Detroit Council of the Arts.

Especially active in writing circles in recent years, he was resident poet and workshop leader at the Detroit Public Library. He also served on numerous literary workshops, panels and seminars throughout the nation and often was the featured poet at various forums. His published works include “Watermelon Rinds and Cherry Pits,” published by Broadside Press, and his most recent, selections in “New Poems from the Third Coast,” published by the Wayne State University Press.

Jackson is survived by his wife, Wayne State Professor Kathryne V. Lindberg; his brother, Lawrence Jackson; his daughter, Llenda Jackson-Leslie; his son, M. David Jackson; three grandsons, Christopher, Eric and Gregory; Irene Wise, widow of his brother Arthur; among other beloved family and close friends.

Memorial contributions may be made payable to: Murray Jackson Scholarship Fund and mailed c/o Wayne State University, 5475 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202. Other appropriate charities include the Wayne State University Brain Tumor Research Fund, Karmanos Cancer Institute and Hospice of Michigan.

– Submitted by Wayne State University

Deborah Selin Freedman

Deborah Selin Freedman died Nov. 3, 2001 after a valiant six-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Freedman earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the U-M in 1967. She taught in the Department of Economics 1968–86 and was a research associate at Michigan’s Population Studies Center. At a time when gender studies were still rare, she developed and taught a course on the economic status of women. Her early research dealt with how economic factors affected reproductive behavior in Taiwan and other developing countries. She realized early on that a quiet but dramatic revolution was under way as families were exposed to new ideas and new products, which influenced their material aspirations and their decisions about family size and education of children. In this work, she often collaborated with Professor Eva Mueller and with her husband, Professor Ronald Freedman.

In addition to her scholarly insights, Freedman always was alert to the personal side of life in times of rapid change. A friend remembers her showing a waiter at a small hotel in Taiwan how to cut bread for toast and make “eggs over” as he struggled to prepare a “Western” breakfast for guests. In the same way, she looked out for students who were new to Ann Arbor, welcoming them into her home and helping them traverse the cultural gaps between the U.S. and their earlier environments.

Later in her career, Freedman turned to collaborative work with Professor Arland Thornton and others on the Intergenerational Panel Study of Parents and Children. The study followed a sample of women and their children in the Detroit area to understand attitudes and decisions about a range of family matters, and how these are transmitted across generations. It resulted in a large number of scholarly articles and was remarkable for maintaining contact with nearly all of the women over a period of 31 years.

Throughout her life, Deborah Freedman was known as an energetic person who got things done. She was valued as a research collaborator and as a member of important University committees. Her husband, Ronald Freedman, describes her role in both family and public affairs as follows: “She was a superb mother, wife, cook, housekeeper, scholar-teacher and citizen of the town and University.”

Freedman was born in Iron River, Mich., in 1918. She is survived by her husband, Ronald Freedman; a daughter, Jane Davidson; a son, Joseph Freedman; and three grandchildren.

—Submitted by the Population Studies Center