There is no question that Jack Jackson was a towering figure in the kinky community of New York City in the 1970s and early 1980s. We know that from the individuals who knew him in those years and who frequently describe him as the central character and the public face of the Eulenspiegel Society, the first socio-educationo-political SM organization started in the winter of 1970-1971. We also know that from a few press articles about Eulenspiegel where he is often described as the driving force for the organization. We find confirmation of his considerable impact in Eulenspiegel’s decision, a few months after his death, to print an issue of their newsletter, Pro-Me-Thee-Us (edited by Veronica Vera), dedicated to his memory with 26 pages of tributes, photos, and remembrances Finally, the depth of his imprint is made forever visible in the composition of the board of Eulenspiegel: the first “President” of Eulenspiegel is also the last and, as to signal that he was forever one with the title, it was decided that there would be officers after him, but no other “President.”
But the work that Jack Jackson did was of the kind that doesn’t leave many traces. He did not found Eulenspiegel: credits for this are due to Pat Bond and Terry Kolb, who were among our 2015 inductees. But for about 8 years he was, as Annie Sprinkle puts it, “the heart and soul” of the group: he led every meeting with his characteristic charisma and sharp sense of humor; he welcomed newcomers with generosity and openness; he shared his extensive knowledge of SM through advice as well as books and magazines he gave to dozens of often younger members.
But contributions like these leave very few traces that a biographer could study…
Also, last but not least, he initiated dozens of newer, younger, players to the joys of SM, giving them the benefits of his experience, his skills, and his twisted mind…. But that too leaves very few traces!
Any individual playing such a pivotal role in the early days of an organization like Eulenspiegel would deserve a place in the Leather Hall of Fame. But doing so as the lone Black man at a time when Eulenspiegel, and the kinky community more generally, were overwhelmingly white only makes Jack Jackson’s role more remarkable and more significant. Here is not the place to reflect on the reasons that kept the kinky world so white. Let us simply note that to the few who might have been tempted to come see what kinksters were about — like leather legends to-be Jill Carter and Mama Vi Johnson — his presence at the helm of the group signaled that this home could be theirs too. His welcoming words: “Come in, little sisters, you’re home” told them that indeed it was!
Much has been written about the D.L. and the Black community in gay male contexts. At Eulenspiegel, in the mid 1970s, Jack Jackson was out and using his birth name in the media, whereas many of his white straight friends in the organization were living “on the D.L.,” at least insofar as they used pseudonyms, such as Pat Bond and Terry Kolb. (Gay members, coming out of gay liberation, tended to be out too, but while there were many at the creation of Eulenspiegel, the organization becomes predominantly het after 1975).
The point is not to judge or disparage the use of pseudonyms for those who need them. It is, however, to recognize the significance of having a leader who is open about his sexual identity for an organization that aims at affirming SM pride and fighting against SM shame. The first public face of Eulenspiegel was Black and it was Jack Jackson’s.
But while we have all these ways to measure his significance, we truly don’t know much about Jack Jackson’s life. We know that he was born in 1921; that he was raised by his mother and a few aunts, and had a poor health as a kid; that he was a photographer by trade; that he had a photo studio in Manhattan that he also used as a dungeon for himself or for his friends. We also know that he joined Eulenspiegel around the summer of 1972; that, when asked to be the PR person for Eulenspiegel, he showed little enthusiasm but he was asked to become the first President of the organization around 1974/1975 and then he accepted. We also know that he was married, and that his wife and he lived in an open relationship.
We also know a little bit about his ideas. At Eulenspiegel, his signal contribution was what he referred to as “SM love” or “loving SM”: he thought that SM suffered from its association with porn and advocated for a philosophy of SM as another form of love; for him, SM was defined not by the sexual acts, but by the relationship between a dominant and a submissive (much like it is for the Master/slave segment of the leather community). He viewed submission — trusting one’s life to somebody else — as the ultimate form of love. And he viewed dominance as a very serious commitment as well: taking responsibility for the life and happiness of another individual.
But these impressionist remarks are far from constituting a biography. For many key questions about his life we may never get an answer. For example: when and how did he have his first SM experiences? where and from whom did he learn how to be an S? Was he initiated back home in Boston (where his mother lived)? Or after he moved to New York City? In the Black community? By white people? When did he move to New York City? When did he learn the art of photography? When did he open his studio? Where did he work before? Where did he find his partners before Eulenspiegel? When did he start to form his conceptions about SM love?
In order to write a biography, one would need an answer to at least some of them.
One of the reasons why we may never have an answer to those questions is that Jack Jackson was not a writer: as far as we know, he never signed a piece in Pro-Me-Thee-Us. He did give a couple interviews in other media but they are more about the organization than himself. He contributed dozens of photos to Eulenspiegel, but no writings.
He died unexpectedly, during the Labor Day weekend of 1983, on a weekend trip with his slave Violetta: la petite mort he experienced that day in her arms coincided with the real thing. At his funeral, his elderly mother noted humorously to an Eulenspiegel member offering their condolences: “He led a great life and had some very nice girlfriends and wives.”
He led an exemplary life and, a little like Socrates or Jesus, he left very few direct traces of it. Most, if not all, of what we know about him we know not from documents or testimonies he left, but from what we hear from those who knew him. His voice is lost forever; the best we can get are its echoes reverberated through the words of those we knew him. That is why, in lieu of a biography, we are publishing a few testimonies about the impact he had on those who met him, and even on someone who never did.
A Night of Loving — By Terry Kolb
(ProMeTheeUs, Jack Jackson Memoral Edition, TES)
Terry Kolb, cofounder, with Pat Bond, of The Eulenspiegel Society in 1971, and, also with Pat Bond, 2015 Leather Hall of Fame inductee, met Jack Jackson at the Society, when she was just past 30, around 1974. They had a 2-year relationship (next to an older, more established, relationship he maintained with another slave) which changed her view of SM in profound ways: even though she had cofounded the first group for masochist (later SM) liberation, it is not until a few years later, once she had met Jack, that she had her first true SM sex explorations; in those two years, at Eulenspiegel, she became the “pain queen”; to this day, she considers Jack one of two doms she has ever had (the second being the woman with whom she has lived for the past 42 years). Their two-year involvement was so transformative in fact that it is his decision to break up, after two years, that led her to leave New York City for good and move permanently to the West Coast.
A Night of Loving gives us a rare insight into the kind of dominant he was. It was first published in the Memorial Issue of Pro-Me-Thee-Us after Jack’s death. We are reprinting it here with her permission.
Last Friday I hurried from my office to my boyfriend’s studio. I was, as always, terrified of being late. He said he would regard tardiness as a deadly insult. I didn’t know it for a fact, but I convinced myself one minute past six would be too late and would lead to some horrible punishment.
I arrived 15 minutes early. Jack was alone, sitting at his desk. So. It had already begun. Usually there were other people around, softening the transition from freedom to imprisonment, absolute enslavement which I always experience the moment Jack and I are alone together. As long as other people are present, I can always change my mind. I can leave. Alone with Jack, I am his prisoner. It is true, he has told me I am always free to leave. But I nevertheless feel powerless to resist his wishes in any way.
Jack motioned for me to sit across from him at the desk.
We smoked a joint. The gentle intoxication of the grass heightened the dizzying intoxication I already felt from the adrenaline which was coursing through my body.
Shortly, he ordered me to walk around the desk and stand before him, where he sat with his legs crossed. He told me to turn around, and he removed my panties. He felt my ass all over in a proprietary, rather than caressing, manner. “I just want to remember what you used to look like before I change you,” he said. Then he slapped me very hard, over and over. After a while, I succumbed to my emotions and started shaking with sobs, more in anticipation of what was before me than from what had already occurred. Jack caught me in his arms. It was the first tenderness he had shown me that night. “It’s all right,” he said, “You can take it. You can take anything I give you.” I felt a wild surge of pride at his words. He always had the power to transform my mood like that. From anguish, I was transported to exultation. Thus fortified, I was now required to bend over the top of the desk and submit to a much heavier beating with various whips.
Abruptly, the blows ceased. I heard Jack’s footsteps recede, only to return a moment later. Now I felt a new sensation. Something was being pushed up my ass. It hurt as it went in, and it continued hurting. I begged Jack to remove it; but he refused and soothed me instead, returning again to the whipping. He then had me remove all my clothing and replaced what I had removed with a leather belt which went around the crotch and held the dildo in place. A chain was placed around my breasts. Jack called this chain a bra. He told me to put my street clothes over this “underwear” and to put my underwear in my purse.
Jack took me downstairs and told me to hail a taxi. As we rode off into the night, he asked me if I had read “O,” and I replied in the affirmative. “Remember how she was prepared.” he said. The motion of the cab was vibrating the dildo and causing pleasurable sensations. Jack asked me if the ride was bumpy, adding that I was in a position to know.
I have stated that I felt freer when Jack and I were in public than when we were alone together. This was no longer the case. I felt totally a captive in my chains. It was exciting to be among others as Jack’s prisoner with only he and I aware of our secret.
We reached a luxurious apartment building. We passed the doorman and some other people whom Jack greeted. I said nothing, as I felt too dehumanized in my chains. The apartment was rich with contrasting textures. It showed good and expensive taste. Jack had me bathe him.
Then he forced me to my knees and pushed a tab of mescaline into my mouth. He took a tab, too. He then invited me to sit with him at the bar.
I was beginning to relax. My mind was admitting certain insights about itself. What was this fear, this feeling of powerlessness I always experienced with Jack? I realized that I had built the walls of my own prison in my mind and then banged on them in a panic when I didn’t really want to get out at all. Fear and helplessness were things I provided myself, as they satisfied some need. I questioned Jack about our relationship and about how much freedom I had. Jack said I didn’t really want to know. “You don’t want to know how big this is. You love me so much, and you are so afraid of love.” Well, the perfect love casteth out fear.
We moved back to the sofa. Jack made me rim him, which I had never done before. It completely humiliated me. I had never felt so totally a slave. Then he had me suck his cock. The mescaline was coming on, and I sucked freely without reserve, without my usual fear of chocking. I felt, quite simply, that if I choked I was doing my trip and denying Jack pleasure in the process. I would not cop out on him that way. The desire to give welled up in me. “I love you!” I cried out. Jack asked me to repeat it, and I did, twice. “OK, you said it three times. Now you can’t take it back,” he said. I felt as if I had signed a contract giving myself without limits to Jack. This, in turn, made me feel unlimited.
At one point, Jack said, “I’m uptight, but it has nothing to do with you.” “Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked. “Just take everything I give you.” I agreed to try, and Jack said that was all he expected.
He began twisting my nipples. The pain mounted. It hurt me, but I clung to the thought that this pain was something Jack was giving me. Suddenly, the pain just vanished as Jack was still increasing the pressure. He had been watching my face. “You did that beautifully!” he exclaimed. The unexpected praise inspired me on. Jack kept increasing the pain, but my ability to endure was now unlimited. I felt like a goddess. Every time Jack hurt me, his own face contorted as if he felt the pain on his own body. I felt that I was receiving his pain and transcending it for both of us and, who knows, perhaps for the entire world. I felt able to take on the pain of the world. “So this is what it is all about,” I thought. “Martyrdom, the ultimate, the cross.” The pains were like red rubies at the tips of my nipples. A golden light appeared. “You look so peaceful,” Jack said. He kept on “hurting” me. “You freak!” he cried in awe. His joy was so great as to resemble agony. I felt as if he had pinned a medal on me. The circuit was full. Agony and ecstasy were joined. I knew I was proving something now. I was proving I could take it. I could take anything the world had to give. Just as God had tested Job’s faith, Jack was testing mine. And I was passing the test. I could love. I needn’t fear. I could pay the price: the heavy price of existence.
I was aware of sexual feelings. How much more must I endure? With one part of my brain, I seemed to be asking myself that. When will I have proven myself worthy? I would know when.
Suddenly, I no longer felt passive and helpless. I felt responsible. I was a free, responsible human being acting on my own desires, daring to pursue pleasure. The revelation rather startled me. It was somewhat embarrassing. Jack was hurting me, or I was enduring, or both were happening. What a price to pay. But well worth it. Finally, I came. As the seizure consumed my body, I understood, emotionally, if not intellectually, why I had prepared as I had for that fearsome event.
Now I think of Jack. Never have I found the kind of acceptance that I found in his arms and under his whip. Jack loves me as I am. He enables me to love. Our relationship may mean many things to different people. To some, it is oppressive. To others, it is perverse. But to me, it is simple a night of loving. And I trust that many more will follow.
Memories of Jack Jackson — By Viola Johnson
The first time I laid eyes on Jack Jackson was at an Eulenspiegel meeting in the spring of 1975.
Jill and I had only ever played with each other but were convinced there had to be others with similar interests… somewhere. Our search for folk like us began with the purchase of a Village Voice newspaper. In the back columns there was a small ad for a *masochist* support group. It gave an address in Manhattan and we decided to take our first steps into a new world. On meeting day we arrived at a gathering of about 20 people. Only the group leader could see us standing in the doorway. A booming baritone voice called out to us, “Come in little sisters, you’re home.”
That voice belonged to a handsome, bald, glass wearing Black man clad head to toe in black leather. The voice was reassuring and commanding at the same time. Somehow his presence calmed our fears and we entered. Almost 50 years later I can still see those first moments in my mind’s eye.
To me, Jack seemed to be 10 ft. tall; part king, part knight, patient teacher, confident leader, loving master, wicked sadist, good friend, proud leatherman and one heck of a photographer. Though not the founder of The Eulenspiegel Society, (that was Pat Bond) in the early years, Jack was its heart. He was the father figure of the organization. Perhaps I should say father to some and big brother to others. For my partner Jill, Jack was a mentor and friend. Although he was far more experienced as both a master and a dominant, Jack would encourage Jill’s participation in the discussion circles and give her hands on advice when we would schedule learning/play dates at our favorite NYC hang out, Club O.
With me, Jack was teacher, book and magazine supplier and answer person for my never-ending streams of questions. We talked a few times about the movie, The Story of O and its characters. I remember that he was disappointed in the way the male characters were portrayed compared to the book. I mentioned that I had not read the book completely and no longer had a copy. A few meetings later he gave me one. It seemed like every few meetings the circle discussions revolved around new books or S/M papers and who was being featured. Some of the folks were members, others not. Jack made sure to take time with me after the meetings to explain who people were and why I should know them. Many of my early introductions to people in the community were made by Jack. He would introduce me as the ever-inquisitive good slave of Mistress Jill. Then his slave Violetta and I would huddle in a quiet area, and she would finish the stories Jack had begun, or quiz me on something Jack had said.
As Jill and I became more and more active in the Eulenspiegel family, Jack encouraged us to find things to do to help the group. I would often help the group’s leather and toy maker, Bill Katz, present workshops on making toys or converting the things found at local pet stores. (There were no toy stores to speak of until the Pleasure Chest opened in the late “70’s) A few times I was invited to Jack’s studio in case he needed an extra pair of hands for someone or something he was photographing. I can still picture him in my memory; puttering around the studio barefoot, in his comphy black silk samurai pants and white kimono style shirt. The books and magazines he kept there were a treasure trove for me. In the studio I got to see more of his many sides. Jack could go from no nonsense professional to laughing and joking in the blink of an eye. (Could it be confusing to a kinkling slave still learning to properly serve…YES. Did I learn very quickly to look for the slight upturn in the corner of his mouth that preceded a radiant smile…Oh yeah.)
The Eulenspiegel family would occasionally trigger Jack’s wonderful sense of humor. Actually, it was usually one of us slaves who could get Jack to break up laughing when he was trying to be serious. In one of the circles, Jack’s slave Violetta said something a *bit* out of place that had the slaves in the group cracking up. Jacked turned to her and said she was being a smart-ass. Violetta’s response was something along the line of “Sir I thought you said I was a masochist.” (We slaves laughed even harder.) Jack, who was working very hard not to laugh at this point, said “Alright, you’re a smart-ass and a masochist, a smart-assed masochist.” It was a new nickname that we slaves adopted, occasionally adapted and used with laughing and loving pride.
Jack Jackson also had a fiercely protective side. The quickest way to see that part of him was for something or someone to endanger his family (bio or of choice). If it meant testifying in court as an expert witness, he would do it. If a master/mistress knowingly participated in reckless behavior, his baritone voice would go from whisper to roar. And heaven help the person if action had to follow the reprimand. I remember one night at the old Hellfire Club a dominant put his female slave into a position that, if accidently bumped or jostled, easily and far too quickly, might have resulted in her death. When the master walked away and didn’t return within a few minutes, Jack pulled up a chair close enough to catch the young lady if something happened. More time passed and the woman was beginning to lose her balance. Jack took it upon himself to take her down from the position she was left in, remove the noose like collar from around her neck and sit her down. While we slaves attended to her, Jack went to two of the owners of the club and they found the dangerous top in another room chatting with friends. The three of them threw the man out of Hellfire. After talking to the young lady,(She had only met the man she came with once or twice before) Jack paid for a cab to take her home. *That* was Jack Jackson.
The man I knew gave more to his community than they could ever give back to him. His leadership guided more than just the organization, he encouraged so very many of us to grow in ways we might not have without him. Part of the leatherwoman I am today was formed by Jack’s patient teaching. Through the example he set with patience, encouragement, compliment or gentle correction, I learned from Jack and tried hard to make him proud of me.
It’s been almost 40 years since a heart attack took Jack away from a beloved wife and family, a faithful slave, and a community that loved him.
Now, as I share our history with the next generations, I remind them that they/we have come this far because of the work of our leather ancestors. Jack Jackson…I call your name.
I *still* miss you Jack.
“The heart and soul of Eulenspiegel” — By Annie Sprinkle
“As a horny sexplorer of all manner of kink and fetish, I strutted into The Eulenspiegel Society to attend parties or take/give workshops over many years of the 70s & 80s. Jack Jackson was the heart and soul of Eulenspiegel, and its shining star. His divine presence made everyone in the room (or dungeon) feel welcome and unashamed—and turned on! He knew how to hold space. Jack was sexy, without even trying. Always having beautiful, submissive women around him added to his allure. His main squeeze and sub, Violetta, was gorgeous! In my experience, he never came on heavy. He didn’t need to. Kinksters of all genders threw themselves at his feet. Jack modeled being loving and non-judgmental to everyone, which is why he was a great leader and is a leather legend.”
A True Master Class — By Veronica Vera
Following the death of their revered president Jack Jackson, the members of The Eulenspiegel Society (TES) decided to dedicate a special anthology edition of their magazine Pro-Me-Thee-Us to Jack’s memory. The job of editor came to me. I met Jack in 1981, less than two years before his untimely death in 1983. I had just begun my writing career and personal explorations into sex, especially S/M and I was fortunate to find my way to TES guided by my good friends Marco Vassi and Annie Sprinkle. TES weekly meetings in those days usually comprised about forty individuals, tops, bottoms, newbies, all genders and all white folks except for the one black man who stood at the front and ruled the roost with love, strength and humor. This was Jack Jackson and he was charming. I was eager to learn as much as I could about Sado-Masochism, dominance and submission which all seemed natural follow-ups to my Catholic education. TES with Jack at the helm was a true Master Class, pun intended. I wasn’t into pain, but I was curious about everything. Jack suggested we get to know each other better and invited me to join him and his lovely slave Violetta on a trip to Riis Park. I was surprised at the invitation and certainly apprehensive about what Jack might have in store for me. But Jack’s kind and fun manner and the sweetness of the energy between him and Violetta made me calm. We wore no leather, no swimsuits- Riis Park was a nude beach. The only item of clothing on any of us was the Stetson Jack wore to protect his bald pate. The three of us were an arresting sight: olive skinned, raven-haired me and lilywhite exquisite Violetta. We were like the fairytale sisters Rose Red and Snow White on either side of Jack, the king kahuna, all muscles and stunning penis. While we lay close together sweating in the sun, Jack bared his desire that I might help him with PR not just for the group, but for himself. He hoped to have some recognition for his ideas and his years of effort in the understanding of loving SM. But before we could get started, Jack died.
Maybe he felt his end was near and that’s why he wanted to make sure he left some last statement. It was an honor to edit that magazine, one that Jack willed to me. It was a collaboration of many, a tribute to Jack and also a compendium of the history and different philosophies of TES members. From its pages, here are just a few excerpts included in that 1984 anthology from people who knew Jack Jackson longer and deeper than I. We all loved him.
My Friend Jack Jackson — By Earl Einhorn
(ProMeTheeUs, Jack Jackson Memoral Edition, TES)
Jack Jackon was and still is my friend. Why does his memory and influence still continue? I believe it is because of his purity. Jack believed in love and the search for truth. HIs actions and beliefs were one. He talked about taking control of his slave-lovers’ lives and he did so with great responsibility and with the benefit of his lovers always in mind.He was a man of integrity and gave great amounts of time to others and to the organization Eulenspiegel. He was incorruptible and his natural self resisted temptations of Ego, Power and Money. He always talked about making money but was too busy giving for free the things and energies that were most important to hm. He held down the fort and always emphasized the loving relationship. He used dominance to get closer to his loved ones and talked about submission as “an act or proof of love.” He was into pageantry and some bondagee but always emphasized he really couldn’t understand the people who tied many, many knots. (even though he accepted everybody’s scene.). He said he didn’t believe in switchability but in later years he accepted this more. (I still think he believed you were either dominant or submissive)...He used to talk about acts in themselves not being dominant or submissive - that a woman could be dominant or submissive while she sucks a man’s cock as well as a man being dominant or submissive when he eats a woman’s pussy.
When people would ask “how do you know what you are into?” He would reply, “ What do you think about when you masturbate?” What surprised me most about Jack was his amazing ability to give so many things to so many people. He had a tremendous diversity of friends and they all found things in him that inspired and affected their lives. Even the people who didn’t particularly like his personality, had to respect Jack’s honesty. Goodness is a word some people find difficult to define, but however you define it, Jack certainly had it and gave it. Jack lives on because of his rare ability (through kove) to pass on his beliefs, ideals and true essence to others,
I LOVE YOU JACK JACKSON!
From Marco Vassi
(ProMeTheeUs, Jack Jackson Memoral Edition, TES)
Going along with the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m remembering Master Jack to all of us with the accompanying photograph. There’s me perched on one shoulder, and Violetta on the other. And in the middle, the man himself, all in black the Scorpio pendant on his chest his eyes strong and gentle with compassion.
Jack wasn’t just a man who loved (although even that is rare enough, he was a man who embodied and radiated love. I miss seeing him smile , and watching him shout a meeting into submission. And I miss hugging him. But his spirit lives, and is legacy.
March 15, 1984
New York City
From Mam’selle Victoire
(ProMeTheeUs, Jack Jackson Memoral Edition, TES)
Our family is built on a sense of generation, the idea that as we desire to express ourselves sexually through one or more of the erotic disciplines, we must apprentice ourselves to the folks who have gone before and done it better. We are imprinted with their style. I gratefully acknowledge the tops who I feel do it best; who work over hot boys, shave, pierce, push ink, all better than I can as I learn. I imitate them shamelessly- and revere them. I feel I’ve lost an important father figure in Jack but it isn’t going to stop me from reaching out and rubbing on more foxy women just like we used to do together. Beside being an authentic top, Jack was one of the men in my eyes - and a gentleman. Which isn’t easy. I expect them to be able to: seduce me, hail cabs, choose wine, carve meat, waltz - and still be able to stand calmly and get cocksucked. Jack...well, Jack waltzing me in my hoop skirts on The Riverboat under moonlight will always shine in my cachet of men-memories.
Jack Jackson — By Sir Guy
I was with other members of the TES Board of Directors and a few volunteers as we were cleaning out our rented storage facility, trying to consolidate for financial reasons. There was a store of past issues of the TES literary organ, Prometheus magazine going back over a decade. There was one of those magazines that caught my eye in particular. It was powder blue and there, on the cover, was a bald Black man in glasses and a beard, wielding a whip and clad in leather. Also on the cover were the words, “Jack Jackson Memorial Anthology.” I asked one of the more senior board members who this was, and the reply was that Jack Jackson was once the president of The Eulenspiegel Society (TES).
I was surprised for a number of reasons. First, I never knew that TES ever had a president. Since my association with the organization there had only been a Board of Directors and I knew Board members who had served for more than a quarter century. Second, this was a Dominant Black Leatherman, something that was very rare during my association with TES. Seeing that and knowing he was the only president TES ever had intrigued me.
I was able to retrieve a copy of that magazine and others for my personal library, but I dove right into this particular one, eager to learn about this man. There were many tributes to him within the pages of this magazine. From what I could gather, he was a strong personality. He was charismatic, intelligent, articulate and forward thinking. Understand that when he was a part of the lifestyle, not only was it taboo, but it could be outright dangerous to be out as into Leather and SM. Yet, Jack Jackson was open about his lifestyle. In fact, he was an advocate for outreach into the non-kink community. He believed that as long as we acted like what we did was to be hidden, we would never be able to be free to be who we are. He felt we should educate the masses and he set out to do this.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he did interviews with magazines like Al Goldstein’s SCREW and Larry Flynt’s Hustler. He went to esteemed houses of higher learning like Columbia University to educate and inform on the lifestyle. He was known to the New York Police Department, not as an offender, but as a resource when it came to their investigation of kink related sex crimes, assisting them in investigations. He believed that kink should be taken out of the shadows and that we shouldn’t be fearful to be who we are and that education was the key to mitigating that fear and to paving the way for our sexual freedom.
While I could find out little about his personal background except that he was raised by his mother and several aunts, and that he was a professional photographer by trade, it was clear that those he touched were deeply impressed by him. It was in his capacity as a photographer that he happened upon a beautiful Black woman who was won over by the way he complimented her. She said that no one had called her Blackness beautiful before. After a couple of chance encounters, he invited her to a TES meeting. She eventually not only became a member of TES, but an Emeritus Board member, serving for 27 years on the board, an admirable feat. That woman, Morgan Lewis HMQ, went on to found the Dominant women’s group at TES, and to set up one of the main fundraising methods for the organization, TES play parties.
Another Black woman who would become iconic in our lifestyle community, Mama Vi Johnson, fondly remembers him. She says he is the only man she ever called “Daddy.” She speaks of his strength and his wit and his ability to move and inspire people. She recalls him being a fierce advocate for education and for stepping out of the shadows.
Other contemporaries including the late founder of TES, Pat Bond, recall his strong will and dominant personality and how even when there was disagreement, it was cordial and respectful. It was said that one of the main reasons that TES went to a board format after Jack’s untimely demise was that they felt there was no one else with the strength of personality to lead the organization as president.
His erotic photography often graced the pages of Prometheus magazine and many people recall fond memories of how he either introduced them to the lifestyle or helped them overcome their inhibitions within it.
What makes Jack Jackson intriguing for me is that I can see some elements of myself within him. He was passionate about educating people about kink and Leather and that is also a passion of mine. His strength of personality was attractive to some but off putting to others. I have had that problem myself. He felt the need for outreach and that is something that I have always tried to do, whether to newer folks, to People of Color, or simply to those seeking information and knowledge. We had the same relationship with the media in that we believe that being open and honest and unashamed about who we are and the life we lead is the only way to be. I empathize with him because I have found that many Black Dominant men in this lifestyle who are strong and outspoken are shunned or thought of as “aggressive” by some.
In other words, though I never really had a mentor coming into this lifestyle, being able to see the example of someone who came much before me strengthened and encouraged me to forge my own path. And so, it is my honor and privilege to present Master Jack Jackson to the Leather Hall of Fame.