Margaret Wood Hassan

02/28/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/28/2021 18:25

In Honor of Black History Month, Senator Hassan Recognizes Vernis Jackson of Portsmouth as February’s Granite Stater of the Month

February 28, 2021

WASHINGTON - In honor of Black History Month, Senator Maggie Hassan recognized Vernis Jackson of Portsmouth as February's Granite Stater of the Month for elevating the stories and cultures of African Americans on the Seacoast and around the world through founding the Seacoast African American Cultural Center, and helping establish the African Burying Ground in downtown Portsmouth.

Jackson, who has lived in Portsmouth since 1963, began advocating on behalf of New Hampshire's African American community in 1974 when she joined in organizing Kwanza, the first chartered organization for African American women in New Hampshire. In 2000, Jackson founded the Seacoast African American Cultural Center to highlight the contributions that individuals of African descent have made to communities on the Seacoast and around the world.

Inspired by her 38 years in the Portsmouth school system, Jackson ensured that the Center could be used as an educational resource for students. The Center now works closely with Portsmouth schools by holding art exhibits for middle school students and providing scholarships for students of color. Jackson also helped establish the African Burying Ground in Portsmouth,which commemorates the spot where 13 individuals of African descent were buried in the 18th century.

Senator Hassan launched the 'Granite Stater of the Month' initiative in 2017 to recognize outstanding New Hampshire citizens who go above and beyond to help their neighbors and make their communities stronger. To nominate a New Hampshire citizen to be a 'Granite Stater of the Month,' constituents can complete the nomination form here.

Click here for Senator Hassan's statement to the Congressional Record honoring Vernis Jackson of Portsmouth as February's Granite Stater of the Month:

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