We had the good fortune of connecting with Bobby Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bobby, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Whew! I love to read. Trying to decide what book is my favorite is like trying to say which of my children I love more. I can’t do it. So many books helped me turn corners in my life. “The Isis Papers” by Frances Cress Welsing. “The Destruction of Black Civilization” by Chancellor Williams. “Miseducation of the Negro” by Carter G. Woodson. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” as told to Alex Haley. “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. Just sooooo many great books. But one that stands out for me, especially in the climate we are currently living in, is “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler. It is rare to have a black lead in a sci-fi novel, even more rare for that black lead to be a woman. The intention of Octavia Butler to have a young black woman (Lauren) as the protagonist was not lost on me as a black man. She was strong, heroic, motherly, resolute, passionate, delicate, spiritual, fiery, and focused. She was the embodiment of everything that black women have been in this country since before its inception. So when I look at my wife, my mother, my sister, my daughters and the plethora of black women in my community, past and present, I don’t just see them as great beings who have held us up throughout time. Much like Lauren in “Parable”, I see them as our salvation.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Chess is my passion. I love playing but more than anything, I love teaching it. Outside of my wife and children, creating a program like Name of the Game: Chess in Real Life (NOTG) has been my greatest accomplishment. It has allowed me to help people on every level tap into the greatness that lies within them. From elementary school students to corporate executives to professional athletes, it has been a joy teaching life lessons through the ancient game of chess and watching people grow into greater versions of themselves. NOTG has been my gift to the world and I hope it continues to impact people to be righteous in their growth, authentic in their actions and fearless in reaching their goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta has become an international hotspot, with the “latest and greatest” popping up everywhere seemingly overnight. But there is still so much history here that has laid the groundwork for all that “The City Too Busy to Hate” has become. I would encourage anyone who visits to certainly get by the King Center. Lots of history about the King family and more than just Martin. Learning about his father “Daddy King” gives one a greater insight into the type of man MLK Jr. turned out to be. Also, taking a visit to The Apex Museum is a must for anyone who wants to understand the history of black people in the city of Atlanta. And while you’re down at the Apex, visiting Atlantic Seafood is not a bad idea either. Great atmosphere and incredible food!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Aynda Kanama-Jackson @ Tamu Sana Kanyama Preparatory Academy. TSK Prep is an African-centered high school in the Atlanta area that has been in existence since 2008. Aynda is a tireless worker and an eternal advocate of children and teens, especially those who have been marginalized. Her work through her non-profit, No Stones Movement, Inc. (NSM) is more than commendable on its own. But her personal story and family legacy is worthy of the big screen.