Susie Jackson

“Susie Jackson” by Lauren Tilden; Emanuel Nine Tribute Portrait Project

“She was a loving person,” she said. “She was helpful, she would just go and do things. She didn’t care how old she was, she was still active.

Felicia Breeland, long-time friend

Matriarch of the family

Her family recounts: all her lessons: planting gardens, scaling fish, how to care for dogs.

Susie Jackson was one of six sisters and four brothers and spent all of her 87 years in Charleston. She went to Burke High School and eventually married the late Walter Jackson. As her family grew, her loved one said, she never missed a graduation, because “she was very passionate about education.” Described as “healthy, active, and showed no signs of slowing down,” she was the matriarch of a family with 3 grandchildren and 8 great grand children, she was considered “the glue that kept her family tight.”

“She always cooked for us. She made us a big plate and wouldn’t let us leave the table until we were done eating. I remember when I was young, we’d sit there 30 or 40 minutes trying to finist it all — she made such big plates….She really took care of us, wanted the best for us. She wanted us to have the image she was the best grandma in the world — and she was.”

Timothy Jackson, Grandson
Susie Jackson
Susie Jackson by David Godman / AP


As a member of Mother Emanuel for many years, she was always at Sunday services and Wednesday Bible studies, as well as serving on the board of trustees, as an usher, singing in the choir, and being an avid driving force in the Senior Citizens group. Former pastor Stephen Singleton remembers,

“Emanuel’s strongest ministry is the senior-citizens ministry—let there be no mistake. Susie was one of four women who made that ministry go.”

Rev. Stephen Singleton

Deeply Missed

“She was one of the Golden Girls” sister Martha remarked. Other sister Eva discussed how planning for a large family reunion was the center of Mrs. Jackson’s life at the time. But one common theme among her family was how giving she was. After her son Walter moved out, she gave his room to two younger folks who needed a place to stay.

“She took in others…She was just that type of person…She was a loving person, she never had no animosity toward nobody.”

Walter Jackson, Son.


Von Drehle, David, Jay Newton-Small, and Maya Rhodan. 2015. “What It Takes to Forgive a Killer.” TIME.Com, November 12, 2015.
Truesdell, Jeff. 2019. “New Documentary on Charleston Church Shooting Looks at Faith, Forgiveness 4 Years Later.” PEOPLE.Com. June 17, 2019.
The South Carolina Department of Education. n.d. “Susie Jackson – South Carolina African American History Calendar.” Accessed July 21, 2019.
Parker, Adam. 2015. “Susie Jackson.” Post and Courier. June 17, 2015.
Bolster, Karina. 2015. “Susie Jackson: Oldest Victim’s Memory to Live On.” Https://Www.Live5news.Com. June 19, 2015.