Jackson is the home town of Tony Dungy, the first African American NFL head coach to win the Super Bowl. He was a three-sport star at Parkside High School (since changed to a middle school). Dungy played quarterback at the University of Minnesota and then defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL.
Nearby communities include Albion, Brooklyn, Cement City, Clark Lake, Concord, Grass Lake, Hanover, Horton, Lake Columbia, Liberty, Michigan Center, Munith, Napoleon, Parma, Pleasant Lake, Portage Lake, Pulaski, Rives Junction, Round Lake, Spring Arbor, Springport, Stockbridge, Tompkins Center, Vandercook Lake, and Waterloo.
On July 3, 1829, Horace Blackman, accompanied by Alexander Laverty, a land surveyor, and an Indian guide forded the Grand River and made camp for the night at what is now Trail and S. Jackson Street. They arrived in Jackson on a well-traveled Indian trail leading west from Ann Arbor. Blackman hired Laverty and Pewytum to guide him west. Blackman returned to Ann Arbor and then Monroe and registered his claim for at two dollars an acre. Blackman returned to Jackson in August, 1829, with his brother Russell. Together they cleared land and built a cabin, built on the corner of what would become Ingham and Trail streets. The town was first called Jacksonopolis. Later, it was renamed Jacksonburgh. Finally, in 1838 the town's name was changed to simply Jackson.
Jackson is the birthplace of the Republican Party. Undisputed is the fact that the first official meeting of the group that actually called itself "Republican" was held in Jackson under the Oaks on July 6, 1854, with Abraham Lincoln from Illinois in attendance. Earlier meetings of groups that later formed the Republican Party were held in Ripon, Wisconsin, Exeter, New Hampshire and Crawfordsville, Iowa, and all four cities bill themselves as the "Birthplace of the Republican Party."
Since the convention day was hot and the huge crowd could not be accommodated in the hall, the meeting adjourned to an oak grove on "Morgan's Forty" on the outskirts of town, where a slate of candidates was selected for state elections. The spot is now the north west corner of Second and Franklin streets in Jackson, and is commonly called "Under the Oaks."
Michigan Automotive Compressor, Inc. (MACI) is the largest manufacturer in the County. Jackson is also home to Southern Michigan Prison, once the largest walled prison in the world, and now one of the world's largest maximum-security prisons, (see the List of Michigan state prisons), which provides employment to many area residents.
The Jackson area was the home of Indy 500-winning car owner U. E. Patrick ("Pat" Patrick) and NASCAR team owner Harry Melling. Patrick Racing was formed in 1978 concurrent with the formation of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART). For many years CART was sponsored by PPG. Patrick Racing won three Indianapolis 500s and two CART PPG championships with Gordon Johncock and Emerson Fittipaldi before the team folded in 1991. The team was revived in 1994 to test Firestone Indy car tires, and won the 1995 Michigan 500. Patrick Racing jumped to the IRL in 2004 and folded at the end of the season. Jackson area residents gave early financial support to Bill Elliott, then a promising young driver who joined the new Melling Racing team in 1982. Melling Racing with Elliott driving the Coors sponsored number 9 Ford Thunderbird won the NASCAR Winston Cup series title in 1988.
Grass Lake is also the home of the Community Racing Challenge. The Community Racing Challenge Series of Events will be held every Saturday Night from April 28th through September 16th at Springport Motor Speedway in Springport, Mi. Springport Motor Speedway is a state-of-the-art facility constructed in the early 80's with a total capacity approaching 7500.
Jackson Speedway contains a 1/4 mile concrete road course, 1/5 mile concrete oval track, a 1/6 mile dirt oval track, and a dirt bike track, where go karts, mini sprints, dwarf cars, and mini cup cars are run.
Education continues for adults who can take advantage of programs offered at three institutions of higher learning: Jackson Community College (JCC), Baker College, and Spring Arbor University. There are an additional 15 institutions all within one hour of Jackson County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 36,316 people, 14,210 households, and 8,668 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,274.9 per square mile (1,264.4/km²). There were 15,241 housing units at an average density of 1,374.4/sq mi (530.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.87% White, 19.70% Black or African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.65% from other races, and 3.67% from two or more races. 4.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,210 households out of which 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 19.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,294, and the median income for a family was $39,072. Males had a median income of $31,957 versus $23,817 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,230. About 15.2% of families and 19.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.9% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.
| ||I-94 Business Loop|
| ||US-127 is a north-south highway providing access northerly toward Lansing and Clare and southerly into Ohio. In the Jackson area, US-127 runs concurrently with I-94 for approximately four miles. It is freeway from Jackson northerly past Lansing, while the freeway south of Jackson quickly transitions to a two-lane, uncontrolled access highway.|
| ||Business US-127 is a loop route running through downtown, connecting with US-127 at either end.|
| ||M-50 enters Jackson from the northwest, and exits southeast of town.|
| ||M-60 approaches Jackson from the southwest, ending at I-94 west of the city.|
| ||M-106 enters Jackson from the northeast and ends downtown.|