United States Army veteran Freddy Jackson has been named West Haven African-American Citizen of the Year by the West Haven Black Heritage Committee said Committee Chairman Steven R. Mullins. Jackson will share the honor with the late Teresa S. Blackwell, former head of welfare services in the City of West Haven.
Jackson, 75, a native of Opp, AL, has served as commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9422. In 2018, he led the West Haven Memorial Day Parade as grand marshal. In the Army, he served in Colorado and Korea in 1963-66 during the Vietnam War era. In addition to VFW Post 9422, he is a member of Hughson Miller Post 71 of the American Legion, where he also served as commander in the early 1990’s.
“Jackson was an obvious choice, due to his service to the nation and his continued service and commitment to veterans here in the City of West Haven.” Mullins said.
Blackwell, a native of Bennetsville, SC, moved to West Haven in the mid-1950s. She later became politically active in the city, working on several campaigns. In the mid-1980s, then-Mayor Azelio “Sal” Guerra appointed Blackwell as West Haven’s first female Director of Welfare Services. After her retirement, she served as United States Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s office manager.
Blackwell died in 2005, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Teresa Blackwell was a trailblazer in the City of West Haven.” Mullins said. “She was ahead of her time and her contributions to West Haven’s black community and the City at large still live on to this day.”
The city’s annual Black Heritage Celebration will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m. in the Harriet C. North Community Room, second floor of West Haven City Hall. Jackson will receive a certificate from the West Haven Black Heritage Committee and a citation from Mayor Nancy R. Rossi. Blackwell’s sons Paul and Edwin will receive the awards for their mother.
In addition to Jackson and Blackwell, two black West Haven High School Seniors Edward Kruah and Esther Danso will will be honored for their academic achievement and leadership. Kruah and Danso were chosen by WHHS Principal Dana Peredes.
The West Haven Police Department Honor Guard will present the colors as West Haven High School junior Nora E. Mullins will sings the Star Spangled Banner. Light refreshments will be served following the program, which is open to the public.
For more information, call Committee Chairman, Steven R. Mullins, at (203) 824-4262.