“They broke the first ground for us,” he said. “There had never been a person elected to a county position.”
Roger Clark, a member of the Anderson Board of Public Works, said Jackson, German and Zeb Christian, the first black on the Anderson school board, were forerunners for the community.
“We’re standing on their shoulders because they broke ground for us,” Clark said. “They were the first. They were the people we looked up to and were our heroes.”
Clark said the community has come a long way, but there was a price to pay. He said Jackson and German were limited in what they could accomplish on the councils.
“Right now it’s more covert than overt in terms of what the guidelines are,” he said. “We have come a long way if you look at the number of people involved.”
Bostic said he is still dissatisfied with the number of African Americans serving in elected positions.
“The people in the county have to be ready to support the most qualified candidate,” he said.
Bostic said there are four or five people in the black community that could run successfully for elective office in Anderson and Madison County.
“We’re trying to lead them in the right direction,” he said. “There is always pressure. They need to be qualified to do the job and not just represent 5 or 10 percent of the community, but represent the whole city or county.”
Clark said younger people are being encouraged to run for political office and become leaders in the community.
“There are some in the younger generation ready to step up and be a leader in the community,” he said.
Clark said it is easier for an African American to be elected in the city of Anderson because that is the center of the community.
“It’s a hurdle to get elected in the county,” he said.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.