Erb Family Foundation Commits $5 Million to The Henry Ford’s Jackson House Project

Erb Family Foundation Commits $5 Million to The Henry Ford’s Jackson House Project

This lead gift provides the funding needed to bring this important story to visitors from around the globe

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation commits $5 million to The Henry Ford’s Jackson House project, announced today by Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford, and John Erb, president and chair of the Erb Family Foundation.

The Jackson House is the Selma, Alabama home of Dr. and Mrs. Sullivan Jackson and served as a safe haven where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others worked, collaborated, strategized and planned the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965. The marches served as protests against the systemic racist policies within the south and raised awareness of the struggles Black voters faced.

It was in the Jackson House on March 15, 1965, when Dr. King watched President Johnson’s famous “We Shall Overcome” speech. The speech announced the bill to be sent to Congress, that would later become the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“The Henry Ford believes in the power of immersing our guests in the stories and artifacts that reflect ordinary people who did extraordinary things to change our world,” said Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford. “This humble home represents a place of great change in our country. We thank the Erb Family Foundation for its support and generosity in helping this institution preserve this important structure and ensure it is experienced by millions of people from all over the world, every year.”

Jawana Jackson, the only child of Dr. and Mrs. Jackson, and the sole owner of the Jackson House, contacted The Henry Ford in 2022 and requested that her family home be permanently relocated to The Henry Ford’s campus in Dearborn, Michigan. After more than a year of due diligence, The Henry Ford acquired the home this year and is moving the structure this fall to Michigan where it will be permanently placed in Greenfield Village in 2026.

This lead gift will provide critical funding to not only help move the house to Dearborn but to support its reconstruction in Greenfield Village and raise its profile through on-site programming and extensive digital access in an effort to reach global audiences.

During their lifetimes, Fred and Barbara Erb, whose estate established the Erb Family Foundation, recognized the importance of the civil rights movement and had great respect for Dr. King’s work.

John Erb, the Foundation’s president and chair, explained the motivation behind the grant by saying, “We believe this project comes at a time that resonates all too much with what our parents witnessed in the 60s, as our country is experiencing increasing efforts to erase Black history and the contributions that Black Americans, like those of the Jackson family and other civil rights activists. My parents would be so proud to see the Foundation helping to uplift these stories and inspire a better and stronger future for this generation and ones to come.”

The Jackson House will eventually join the more than 80 historic structures in Greenfield Village that tell stories reflecting pivotal moments in our history. They include the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, the laboratory where Thomas Edison perfected the light bulb and the home and workshop where Orville and Wilbur Wright invented their first airplane.

About The Henry Ford
Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford, a globally recognized destination, fosters inspiration and learning from hands-on encounters with artifacts that represent the most comprehensive collection anywhere focusing on innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness in America. Its unique venues include Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center and Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school. Together with its online presence at, its national television series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Invention Convention Worldwide, the growing affiliation of organizations fostering innovation, invention and entrepreneurship in K-12 students, The Henry Ford inspires individuals to unlock their potential and help shape a better future.