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Frances Jackson Nash

Born on 10-19-1895. She was born in Buffalo, NY. She was accomplished in the area of Community. She later died on 12-12-1987.
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Frances Jackson Nash was born in Buffalo, New York on October 19, 1895 to Samuel and Harriet Anderson Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was remarried to Milton Hardon. She and her brother, Raymond E. Jackson (former Imperial Potentate of the Shriner's A.E.A.O.N.M.S., Inc., and one of the founders of the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo) were the only survivors among six siblings.

Frances' formal education ended after two years at Hutchinson-Central High School; however she had diverse and life-long educational experiences. She studied piano and music theory with well-known local music teacher, Otto Hager and theatre-arts at the Erlanger Theatre under the nationally acclaimed actress, Katherine Cornell. She was also a self-taught elocutionist and took lessons in dress-design, pattern-making and dress making at Adam, Meldrum and Anderson's sewing workshops. She pursued an interest in ceramic arts at the Buffalo Museum of Science, took a Principles of Business correspondence course and also received certificates from the Buffalo Bible Institute for Biblical studies of the Old and New Testaments. She attended many lectures and seminars on health and nutrition.

In 1925, at the age of 30, Frances married Rev. J. Edward Nash, who was pastor of the historic Michigan Avenue Baptist Church. He was 27 years her senior and this was the only marriage for both of them. Their only child, Jesse Edward Nash, Jr. was born on February 22, 1926. They were a family until Rev. Nash's death on January 26, 1957.

Frances was known to say, "I am a child of the King, and this is my Father's world. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and perfect love castes out fear." To those who knew her, she was recognized as a person of strong religious beliefs and faith. Her adult life, even before becoming the wife of a minister, was "religion-grounded" and "God-centered." She believed in the power of prayer and often said that, "In God I live and move and have my being."

She memorized entire hymns and major passages of the Bible (KJV) and often drew upon them during family morning and evening devotions in her home. Her ability to memorize and recite long poems and passages from the Bible made her a special attraction for a variety of church and social functions. Also, it was this ability that encouraged her to pursue a career in the theatre, as a young woman. She was active in many phases of the life of Michigan Avenue Baptist Church. At one time or another, she was its Sunday School Superintendent; active in the Willing Workers' Club; the Missionary Society; Pianist for the Gospel Choir; Instructor for the Sewing Circle; Director of the Summer Bible School; Moderator of Christian Culture Congress Forums; etc. Even as the minister's wife, which was and is a difficult role to play, she found joy in doing the Lord's work through a multiplicity of church roles and activities.

Because of a serious illness she was experiencing and studies in the non-medical healing methods of Christian Science, Frances developed an interest in health and nutrition. A favorite phrase of hers was "You are what you eat." By attending health lectures and seminars, she became knowledgeable about vitamins, food-groups, proteins, starches and more and their importance to and for the human body. In the 1940s, she developed a large vegetable garden in the back of her home, which, for many years, supplied the neighborhood and friends with organically grown foods. It is interesting to note, that for a few years, she made and sold small "healthful" rhubarb, lemon, apple and/or pumpkin pies to a restaurant, on a weekly basis. Her home-made ice cream was an occasional Sunday afternoon treat.

She played tennis from her early twenties to her mid-eighties. She was an avid walker, typically covering four to five miles a day, regardless of the weather. She took up bowling in her eighties and was a member of a church team. She also enjoyed ice and roller skating, even past the age of sixty. Even as a resident in a Nursing Home, she found ways to exercise her legs, arms and fingers while sitting in a wheel chair. Up until two weeks before her death, at age 92, she took walks as frequently as possible. She truly valued physical exercise.

Through practice and diligence she became a "master" seamstress. There were demands for her tailoring skills outside the immediate family. During World War II, she unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a contract with the United States Army to make uniforms. She tried to do the same thing with the Boy Scouts of America, but to no avail. Her proposals for these contracts fell short on her inability to demonstrate that she had the capacity to handle large mass-production contracts.

She gave reading recitals at church and social functions. She was known for her phenomenal memory and presentations of poetry. Richard Harrison, who played the part of "De Lawd" in Green Pastures, said that she had promise as an actress. She rejected roles that she felt were demeaning based on assumptions about racial differences. As a result, she would not play the part of a slave, a servant or a domestic.

Mrs. William H. Horner wrote a play entitled, "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother", which was presented at Lincoln Memorial Methodist Church, in the late 1930s. Mrs. Nash played the part of the mother. Her characterization of this role received high praise, but she never got beyond this stage of dramatic presentations. She aspired to be an actress on the legitimate stage and was acclaimed as a very sensitive and dramatic reader and elocutionist. Even though she was without peer on the local scene, she was never accepted for a role on Buffalo's Erlanger Theater stage. This was another of her unfulfilled ambitions.

She was active in the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church; the Buffalo Branch NAACP, the YWCA and the Michigan Avenue branch of the YMCA. Her other affiliations included the Minister's Wives Association of Buffalo and Vicinity; the Buffalo Federation of Negro Women's Clubs; the Phyllis Wheatley Club; the Lit-Mus Club; and the Book-lover's Club. During the 1940s, she attempted to convince the City of Buffalo to convert the old Broadway Auditorium into a housing and recreation center. It had been condemned and slated for demolition. Her appeals fell on deaf ears. The facility was converted into a Military Police post during World War II. It was used to house prisoners of war from Europe. Shortly after the war, it was restructured into a garage for the City Department of Public Works trucks. The facility still stands today and is directly across the street from the Nash home.

Mrs. Nash's activism also extended to the land next to her home. She cultivated a massive garden on vacant city-owned property. She invited others to help make the vegetable garden a community project and envisioned the garden as a catalyst for effective communal activity. She proposed it as a means of getting neighbors to work together on many different levels, but that did not happen. Ultimately, the City required her to either give up the garden or take steps to purchase it and as a property owner, pay the taxes due. She gave up the garden and the City cleared the land. It remains cleared and unproductive.

She is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.