Michael Jackson

Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

Birth Name: Michael Joseph Jackson

Date of Birth: August 29, 1958

Place of Birth: Gary, Indiana, U.S.

Date of Death: June 25, 2009

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. He was nicknamed the “King of Pop.” He electrified audiences with his stage performances and dance routines.

Michael was the son of Katherine/Kattie Esther/B. (Scruse), who had played clarinet and piano, and aspired to be a country-and-western musician, and Joseph Walter Jackson, who played guitar with a rhythm and blues band, the Falcons. He was the brother of singer, songwriter, and actress Janet Jackson and singer and songwriter La Toya Jackson. He had three children, including Paris Jackson. Musicians 3T (Tariano Jackson, Taryll Jackson, and Tito Jackson) are his nephews.

Michael went through an abusive childhood at the hands of his father, Joseph.

Despite the controversies in Michael’s life, he has always been loved by his fans. Michael died on June 25, 2009, at the age of 50, due to cardiac arrest.

Michael Jackson was African-American.

Michael’s father had stated that he has Native American ancestry. Michael’s brother Jermaine has said this also. It is not clear if this ancestry has been verified/documented. Joseph also stated that he had some European roots. It has also been said that Michael’s mother has Blackfoot Native American ancestry, also as yet unverified, at least publicly.

Michael’s paternal grandfather was Samuel Joseph Jackson (the son of Israel Nero Jackson and Emeline Williams). Samuel was born in Mississippi, and was said to be of partial Choctaw Native American descent; as well as having black ancestry. It is not clear if this has been verified. Israel and Emeline are listed only as “Black” on United States censuses. Israel was the son of Jack July Gayle/Milam and Mary Freeman or Gina Gale.

Michael’s paternal grandmother was Crystal Lee King (the daughter of Samuel King and Gertrude Daniel). Crystal was born in Arkansas. Samuel was the son of William King and Nellie. Gertrude was the daughter of Thomas “Tom” Daniel and Martha “Mattie” Cason. Mattie was said to be the daughter of a white woman and a black slave man.

michael jackson alan light

Jackson in 1988, photo by Alan Light

Michael’s maternal grandfather was Prince Albert Screws/Scruse (the son of Prince Scruse/Screws and Julia Belle/Bell Jordan). Michael’s grandfather Prince was born in Alabama. Michael’s great-grandfather Prince was the son of Prince Screws and Mary Etta Denson. Julia was the daughter of Julius Willis Jordan and Rosetta Hall.

Michael’s maternal grandmother was Martha “Mattie” Upshaw (the daughter of Daniel Upshaw and Jeanette/Jennetta Brown). Martha was born in Alabama. Daniel was the son of Jonas Upshaw and Minerva Grant. Jeanette was the daughter of Columbus Brown and Henrietta Peterson.

Sources: Genealogies of Michael Jackson – http://www.wargs.com

Information (some potentially unverified) on Michael’s family history – http://www.truemichaeljackson.com

Michael’s paternal great-grandparents, Israel Nero Jackson and Emeline Williams, on the 1880 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Israel Nero Jackson and Emeline Williams on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Israel Nero Jackson and Emeline Williams on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Israel Nero Jackson and Emeline Williams on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Likely Michael’s great-grandfather, Israel Nero Jackson, on the 1870 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Michael’s maternal grandparents, Prince Albert Screws/Scruse and Martha “Mattie” Upshaw, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

161 Responses

  1. tlvierha says:

    It turns out Michael Jackson avtually quite likely had Choktaw ancestry through his paternal grandfather’s mother, Emmeline Jackson


    She was the daughter of Sanders Allen Williams (B. 1830 in Louisville, Kentucky) and Fannie Mae Dunn (b. 1830 in Rankin, Mississippi)

    • follers says:

      I will have to interrogate the sources here, but for what it’s worth, the four censuses linked here that list Emmeline say that her parents were born in Mississippi (no father born in Kentucky). They also list her simply as black, with none of them listing her as mixed race, not even the 1920 Census, which is known for listing a high percentage of African-Americans as “Mulatto.”

      Are there any documents that list her parents’ names?

    • follers says:

      For example, one of the commentators on the Wikitree page says, “I do not know who the parents of Emeline Jackson are, It is not listed on her death certificate.”

      Can anyone find a record that lists Emeline’s parents? Or find Sanders and Fannie on any records?

  2. GaSlave77 says:

    His maternal grandmother was born in Alabama in an area where the Creek nation ruled, then Africans and Europeans moved in. Slim possibility of Native ancestry but more likely European and African.

    • ethnogenesis says:

      Blackfoot were 1. a tribe in northern Montana US with Alberta Canada, 2. thought to be another name for the Saponi in the Carolinas adjacent to the Cherokee before their removal in the Trail of Tears, and 3. to disguise either a Black ancestor in the white southern population or vice versa in the case of the Jackson family, along with rumors of Mexican ancestry that I didn’t find and there is a post-1900 Mexican community in Chicago extending into Gary IN.

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