In recognition of Black History Month

Robert Jackson

Robert Jackson is something of a legend at Special Olympics Florida. 

The Gadsden County resident has been competing with us for 50 years, and, in 2022, was inducted into the Special Olympics Florida Hall of Fame. He’s won dozens of awards and, in 1987, competed in what was then called the International Games at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. There, Jackson captured a bronze medal in the 200-meter run and met then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.  Attending the International Games, he said, “was the best experience I ever had.” 

In recognition of Black History Month, Jackson spoke recently about his career and about the leaders who have inspired him. “Black History Month is important because we should honor the patriarchs and matriarchs that have gone before us,” he said. “They paved the way.” 

Jackson looks to the work of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and abolitionist Harriet Tubman for inspiration. Both faced overwhelming opposition, but both, he said, “just kept going and wouldn't give up.” 

Jackson lives by the same principle. For five decades, he’s competed and tried to set an example for young Special Olympics Florida athletes. He wants to show them they can achieve remarkable things – if they keep working. If they don’t give up. 

“I hope people come along behind me and do what I did,” he said. “I hope some of them follow in my footsteps.”