This is a beautiful story.
Former Boston Mayoral Candidate Tito Jackson has reunited with his biological mother after almost 50 years, The Boston Globe reports.
Jackson has long been a city servant, working as a former city councilor and running for mayor of Boston in 2017. After losing the race, he became introspective about his own life and where he comes from as an adopted child. He first became interested in his biological family as a sophomore in college after realizing he didn’t know much about his medical history. Since the beginning of his career as a public official, he has been open about his adoption. However, he only knew what little information he could glean from the adoption agency some years prior.
In 2014 he revealed that his biological mother, Rachel E. Twymon, was just 13-years-old when she gave birth to him. He also shared that she was the victim of a sexual assault by two men at “White Ribbon Day,” an initiative that invites men and boys to solve violence against women. Jackson would often do work for adopted families in his community and constantly scanned the room to see if any older Black women looked like him.
In 2018, Jackson decided to dig deeper into his background and quickly located his mother with the help of Marilyn Anderson Chase, a social worker at Boston Children’s Services. Chase was responsible for leading the effort in the 70s to get Black families to foster and adopt Black children and had placed Jackson with his adoptive parents Rosa and Herb Kwakuzulu Jackson. The couple fostered more than 50 children and adopted three, one of them being Jackson.
“When Herb and I first saw him, we looked at each other and said, ‘That’s him, that’s our son.’ He’s been a joy to us ever since,” Rosa Jackson said. She’s happy that her son has found his biological mother and is excited for them to reconnect. Jackson and Twymon first met at an Olive Garden in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. As soon as the two locked eyes, Twymon began sobbing, collapsing into Jackson’s arms as he comforted her while also crying.
“I stayed as strong as I could for as long as I could. Nobody wanted to help me,” Twymon said.
Now, Jackson and Twymon are ready to publicly share their story, one with deep ties to Boston’s school desegregation history. Twymon’s story was previously captured in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families” by J. Anthony Luka. Twymon said that during the 10 years Luka took researching the book, he never interviewed her once and got many things wrong about her story. The book also profiles Rachel L. Twymon, the matriarch of the family.
Jackson’s mother was a pregnant middle school student bused to Charlestown in 1975, where kids made fun of her and white residents threw bricks. Twymon said her birth was traumatic and that she could only hold Jackson for a short while before the nurses took him.
“He was a beautiful baby. He had beautiful curly hair…I had that baby. It was over. Nobody said another word about him until I was grown,” she told reporters.
Her teen years and early adulthood were spent trying to forget the painful experience. She struggled a lot and also endured a battle with addiction. As an adult, she sat on panels and spoke to reporters about her family’s story related to integration. In 2010, she lost one of her sons, Arthur C. Burton III, at 19. It wasn’t until 2012 that people began to ask Twymon about her own story, starting with an Emerson College student looking to work on a class play about the Twymon family. That experience inspired her to begin looking for the child she gave up for adoption, but she had nowhere to go and no one that supported her.
“How do you find a baby when you don’t know where to look? I knew I had a baby; I knew he was a boy,” Twymon said.
The two have crossed paths unbeknownst to either of them many times over the years, Twymon’s other son Michael joking during Jackson’s mayoral campaign that he hopes the “Black man running for mayor whose name is Tito Jackson…can dance.” Jackson has two brothers, Stevin Burton, 29, and Michael Newsome, 40, whom both resemble him though he is taller than them.
“This is a piece of my life that had been missing. There was a great deal of…trauma that I did not go through. There is a whole story of me that happened [long before now],” Jackson said.
Knowing @titojackson ‘s larger than life personality this story seems so remarkably fitting. Big mystery. Big resolution. Big love. The pain and healing wrapped up in this reunion will help many, folks with common life threads and those who can appreciate a big bear hug of solace https://t.co/aMex4KYkDM
— Wanda Whitmore (@Whitwanda) April 15, 2021advertisement
— chip goines (@chipgoines) April 17, 2021advertisement
Congrats Tito! I’m super happy for both you and Rachel. Covid has kept so many people apart, its great seeing such a joyous reunion. https://t.co/M1SWMzprnr
— Notorious VOG (@NotoriousVOG) April 16, 2021advertisement
— Tito Jackson (@titojackson) April 15, 2021
— Renata (@diddypoppins) April 15, 2021
— Colette Phillips (@ColettePhillips) April 15, 2021
Congratulations, Tito and Rachel! May this next journey together be your best yet.
Photo Courtesy of John Tlumacki/Globe Staff