‘She was a woman of very strong convictions’
By ROBIN CAUDELL, Staff Writer
PLATTSBURGH — A lifelong fighter of the good fight, Jacqueline Creed Archer, died of complications from her long battle with multiple sclerosis at 5:20 p.m., Monday, in the Glens Falls Hospital. She was 72.
She and her former husband, Lloyd Archer, moved to Plattsburgh with their daughters, Taryn Michelle and Tracey Nadine in 1962.
Archer’s North Country legacy includes founding the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Clinton County, president of the Citizen’s Council on Alcoholism and director of the Champlain Valley Hospital unit of Alcoholism Information and Referral Center.
She retired in 1982 due to her private battle with multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a wheelchair, but did not prevent her from presenting programs on alcohol and drug abuse in area schools.
"I have known her as along as I’ve been in Plattsburgh," said Frank Jackson, former commission chairperson and friend of the late Archer.
"She was the leader, the founder, the person we all looked up to. Her legacy to this community is unbelievable — the things she’s been involved with and how the community has grown since she got involved."
Archer was born on Aug. 3, 1928, the youngest of seven children of George and Hylda Creed in Keyport, N.J.
She attended Keyport High School, where she was the first black cheerleader and played softball, field hockey and basketball. She was inducted into the Keyport High School Hall of Fame in October 1998.
She graduated in 1950 from Spelman College in Atlanta, where she majored in social science with a minor in psychology and history.
Besides her parents, her role models included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and her Civil War-surgeon and Yale graduate great-grandfather Cortland VanRensselaer Creed.
Archer had a very soft-speaking way and a forceful personality, according to Helen Booth. Booth worked on a committee with Archer many years ago during the beginnings of the North Country Center for Independence.
"She drove with Albany to me," Booth said. " She was a very nice person. She was quite delightful to work with. I’ve known her a long time."
Archer was a trailblazer and woman of many firsts. She was the first African-American female college graduate in Keyport.
She was the first African-American hired as a social worker, who went into black and white homes in Redbank, N.J.
She was also a charter member of the Monmouth County New Jersey Business and Professional Women’s Council and a home-service worker for the American Red Cross.
In Plattsburgh, she was a charter member of the Area League of Women Voters, the Coalition for Independence and Dignity, the Clinton County Area Multiple Sclerosis Chapter, the Mental Health Association and the Clinton County Affirmative Action Board.
By the time she retired, she had spoken in every school, church and synagogue in Clinton County. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Plattsburgh.
"She was a very faithful and dedicated woman to her faith, her Lord, her family and her community." said the Rev. Gerald Bentley of First Baptist Church.
"She was a woman of very strong convictions based on her faith and that made her a very strong leader and one people could look up to as one to be admired and as an example," Bentley said.
"Everyone in the church and community will miss her and will always carry the memory and impact she made in their lives."
Archer’s Ashley Road residence contains volumes of photo albums filled with press clippings, photographs and letters from students, local residents and the famous, including Nelson Rockefeller, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert F. Kennedy and Muhammad Ali.
"She was a very organized person," said Monica Springer, her longtime caretaker.
Archer joined the Plattsburgh Branch of the NAACP in 1963. As chairperson of membership and fundraising, she was cited nationally for her outstanding efforts and elected branch president in 1965. She served for three years.
She helped file more than 50 complaints of racial discrimination in Clinton County. She filed one herself and won against a white hairdresser who refused to cut her hair.
"She was the leader and heart and soul of the Civil Rights Movement in the North Country," said activist Harold Brohinsky.
"She was my friend and one of the finest people I ever knew."
Her honors include certificates of appreciation from the Plattsburgh Police Department and Clinton County Correctional Facility.
She was Jesse Jackson’s sole delegate for the 26th Congressional District for the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988.
She was selected as an "African-American of Distinction" by former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
City of Plattsburgh Mayor Daniel Stewart enjoyed talking with Archer whenever he could.
"She was a champion of many causes, and she’ll be very missed. She was a good person to talk to about any issue, and she cared about people. It was amazing what she did. She was a great role model for other people."
Following cremation, there will be two memorial celebrations in Archer’s honor.
Arrangements are incomplete at this time.