Jack O’Dell Education Center

About the Jack O’Dell Education Center | About Jack Hunter O’Dell | Booklets and Speeches | Contact

About the O’Dell Education Center

The Jack Hunter O’Dell Education and Reflection Center, located in Southeast King County between Tacoma and Seattle, Washington on a 20 acre campus, offers students, teachers and organizations unique courses in the art and science of nonviolent organizing, Kingian philosophy, leadership, and professional development for educators and other public servants. The O’Dell Center is the national office of the Institute for Community Leadership.

Jack O’Dell with Institute youth

Classes and events offered at the O’Dell Education Center include: Democracy Education Class Series, Dr. King Nonviolence Curriculum, Professional Development Courses for Educators and Public Servants, Art and Science of Teaching Social Justice, Cultural work (poetry, art, painting), Environmental Justice Class Series.

Families, students, and volunteers participate in Garden Corps, combating childhood obesity and diabetes, riparian restoration, organic gardening, outdoor work and creative projects, weaving together a wholistic approach to teaching and learning.

Democracy Education Class Series

  • Leadership Poetry Workshop for Civic Engagement Curriculum
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Nonviolence Curriculum
  • Personal Transformation through Social Participation Curriculum
  • Art and Science of Social Justice and Community Organizing Course Series
  • Professional Development Courses for Teachers
  • Coaching Peace with Justice Curriculum
  • Environmental Justice Class Series

Jack O’Dell, Director of Voter Registration for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), May 1962. Jack is seen with the striped tie seated next to Dr. King.

Reflection and Action

Reflection and action are two elements of a single well-lived personality. Action without reflection is disempowering and arrogant. Reflection without action is weak and anemic. Reflection does not prove our action, but rather our action proves our reflection.

About Jack Hunter O’Dell (1923-2019)

Jack O’Dell has devoted a long and healthy life to the struggles for “a more perfect union” and a better world. His discipline and devotion led him into major areas of struggles in the United States, including union organizing, civil rights mobilizing, tenant organizing, and peace and disarmament mobilizing. Additionally, Jack has devoted much needed attention to popular communications, media and organizational development.

The following is a speech by the Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee in honor of Jack O’Dell’s birthday, read into the Congressional Record on September 10, 2008.

HONORING JACK HUNTER O’DELL — (Extensions of Remarks – September 10, 2008)


Ms. LEE. Madam Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the life and contributions to the United States of Jack Hunter O’Dell, and to acknowledge his 85th birthday, August 11, 2008. Jack Hunter O’Dell was born August 11, 1923 in Detroit, MI. Like other Americans who worked hard during the Great Depression, Jack devoted much time and energy to selling newspapers as a youngster and playing a strong role in his extended family. At an early age Jack developed an intense curiosity toward the world and a love of reading.

At the onset of World War II Jack joined the Merchant Marine, one of the most risky and important forces in the U.S. war effort. The Merchant Marine hauled supplies for U.S. troops in unarmed ships, often being attacked by Nazi submarines. Jack joined the National Maritime Union and advocated for the rights of workers on the ships and docks. During this time Jack developed an understanding of the struggles of peoples of other nations, an understanding that helped form his consciousness and dedication to creating peace and strengthening democracy.

After the war, Jack organized tenants in the Southern States and later in New York City. He worked with Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. as an organizer in New York and throughout the South as the Director of Voter Education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He wrote and became an editor for the dynamic and unifying magazine, Freedom Ways. He taught at Antioch College and has lectured and taught throughout the United States. He is truly the common person’s intellectual, holding forth the proposition that intellectual activity, creativity and wisdom stem from all the people.

Jack has consulted on two U.S. presidential campaigns. He has served Operation PUSH and the National Rainbow Coalition as the Director of International Affairs. In that capacity he assisted in developing ties of understanding, friendship and solidarity with many peoples around the world. His international work helped free political prisoners, it helped bring unification to warring factions in various nations and helped leaders from all walks of life in the United States understand the world and America’s role in providing, by example, a true commitment to fair play and magnanimity.

Mr. O’Dell has been a bold yet humble servant to the interests of the American people. He recognized the necessity for working people to have access to reliable and first-rate media. He became Board Chair of one of the most popular, independent radio networks and news services. His commitment to peace and a more safe and secure world expressed itself in years of service to peace efforts, including serving on the board of SANE FREEZE.

Jack has traveled around the globe representing the best in what it means to be an American citizen. He has represented the United States as a worker, as a representative of organizations advocating equality and justice, and as a brother to all in struggle. His experiences, intense study, love of country and his warmth and humor have provided tens of thousands with a deeper sense of joy and optimism for the future of humanity. Jack understands a better world is possible. His life, his writings and his example provide a bright light to all of us attempting to bring a better world into being.

Thank you, Jack Hunter O’Dell, for your selfless service to our Nation. It is an honor to know you and to have benefited by your talents and dedication. Best of luck to you as you continue your noble work helping to inspire all Americans to take the high road toward peace, community, and a stronger democracy.

Booklets and Speeches by Jack O’Dell

For a selection of booklets and speeches by Jack O’Dell published by the Institute for Community Leadership, please contact Nyla@icleadership.org or call 253 508 3250.


Jack O’Dell Education Center
24833 180th Ave Se
Kent, WA 98042
Phone: 253 872 3612
Email: Info@icleadership.org