Born in Seneca, SC; Hazel Jackson taught English at Pendleton High school in Pendleton, SC for four years before moving to Lancaster County. Once in Lancaster County, she was repeatedly refused jobs because of her race. During that time she joined the RCA Corp but was determined to teach. In 1961 she was hired by Edward Hand Junior High School to teach English. There she taught for nine years before becoming an assistant professor of English and African-American literature at then Millersville State Teachers College in 1970. In 1994, after retiring from Millersville University, she was the first ever African-American honored with a scholarship by Millersville University totaling $10,000.