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Burleson, Jane, 1928-



  • Existence: 1928-


Jane (Janie) Burleson, union activist, volunteer, and city council member, was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1928 to Octavia Bivens Jones Dukes and William Kelly Jones. She left high school to marry at age seventeen. After separating from her husband, she worked in a Chicago packing plant. In 1948 she returned to Fort Dodge to care for her ailing father and became employed by the Hormel plant. In her thirty-two years at Hormel, she was involved in union activities, serving as secretary for the Local 31, United Packinghouse Workers of North America. In 1954 she married Walter Burleson. Her son Charles, from her previous marriage, survived service in Vietnam but suffered a violent death in St. Louis in 1974. When the Hormel plant closed in 1981, Burleson began to work for the Fort Dodge school district as a special education teacher's aide. In 1981, Burleson ran for Fort Dodge City Council for the first time and was defeated. She ran again in 1983 and won, becoming Fort Dodge's first woman and first African-American city councilor. Burleson's other activities included serving as president of the Fort Dodge A. Phillip Randolph Institute, active involvement in the League of Women Voters and the Democratic Party, and service to her church, Coppin Chapel African Methodist Episcopal.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Jane Burleson papers

Identifier: IWA0340

Teacher's aide, packinghouse worker, and union activist, Burleson was the first woman and first African American elected to the Fort Dodge City Council.

Dates: 1931-1998