|( The Lakeland Ledger, Sat. Feb. 13, 2010,pg.B-I & B-4 )
Mr. Jackson was a pioneer of the Bartow area in the late 1800's, at this time several small one-room schools in the predominantly black East Bartow area taught students through the 6th.grade, there were no provisions for them to continue their education past this grade at the time.
Union Acadmey Primary School was a two story, wood building along 5th. Ave. near Parker St., but after 30 years it had became inadequate for the number of students attending.
Jackson Longworth served on the school board of trustees and in 1927, the board began working with Mount Zion AME Church to find another location to build a larger, more permanent school.
Mr. Longworth was a successful contractor by this time, he stepped forward with a 5 acre site on Wabash St, this contribution made it possiable for the Board of Public Instruction and the Union Academy Trustees to create Polk County's first high school for minority students in 1928.
The building remains today at the west end of the Union Acadmey Complex which today houses a magnet school for middle school students.
Union Acadmey served as a highschool for the black students until about 1969 when school desegregation began, at this time students bagan to merge with the Summerlin Institute in Bartow.
Jackson Longworth never lived to witness desegregation, he died in 1949.
His Great-grandson accepted the Excellence in Education Award and made this statement, The spirit of those like his great-grandfather and the business man L.B.Brown and how they formed the cornerstone of todays success, these are the people who made the sacrifices and did it not caring who got the credit.
The L.B.Brown Heritage Festival is held at the L.B.Brown House which was built in the late 1880's. Mr Brown was another pioneer who worked to improve the conditions of his people and a successful business man.