John-Joseph Jackson was born in Beckley, West Virginia and has spent the majority of his life in and around the Atlanta area. In 2012 he finished his B.A. in History from Georgia State University with a minor in Music. While the broader field of history has always been a topic of fascination for him, from the age of 10 music was the predominate driving force of his life and where most of his energy was spent. Initially attending GSU on a music scholarship for several years he left to pursue music endeavors outside school before returning in 2010 with a renewed interest in history largely based around extensive reading of the works of Jared Diamond, Howard Zinn and other ‘pop-historians’. Being unclear as to what direction to focus his studies his was fortunate enough to take an Introduction to Public History course which revealed the breadth and depth of the Historic Preservation field as well as the important work being done in it.
For the past four years John-Joseph has worked at the National Archives and Records Administration Federal Records Center in Ellenwood, Georgia on a variety of special projects involving both Federal Civil Court Records and Bankruptcy records being assessed for their historical importance. In addition he has had the opportunity to work extensively with the physical preservation and treatment of water damaged Veterans Affairs Records from as far back as the 1940’s and ensure that as much information as possible could be retained. The sustained work he has done in his time at NARA has only served to increase his interest in both the archival and historic artifact preservation fields.
This work in the archival field has also cemented in his mind the importance that digital history currently has and will continue to have in the field at large. While much of the work in the past decade at archives as a whole has shifted to a secure digital format for internal use, hard copies of records such as medical files or court cases are still in demand due to being deemed more ‘authentic’ than their digital counterparts. These shifts to all digital formats have been hailed as imminent for over two decades in the archival field and the fact that so many paper records are still being generated and referenced speaks to a reticence on the part of many individuals to give up what has been the prevailing standard for so long.
For the Beltline Project, the majority of research will focus on the Cabbagetown neighborhood and surrounding residential areas, such as Renyoldstown which sprung up to be in close proximity not only to the railroad, but the associated businesses in the area as well.