As an activist at Tarkio College, Rogers was a leader of the black student organization. She tried to join the Kansas City chapter of the Black Panther Party during the time that its leader, Pete O’Neal, was leaving the country. After earning her B.S. degree in education in 1972, Rogers taught elementary school in her old Kansas neighborhood.
The Organization for Black Struggle was founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 1980 by Rogers and other community activists, students and union organizers to help the black working class and extol the principles of Black Power.
In 1993, Rogers was appointed Director of the City of St. Louis’ Office of Youth Development by Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr., serving until 2001. During this period, Rogers also served as Chairperson of the St. Louis Black Leadership Roundtable.
Rogers is Co-Chair of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression and sits on numerous boards of youth and education oriented agencies.
Jamala Rogers writes a weekly column for the St. Louis American, an award-winning Black newspaper in St. Louis, MO.
In 1998, Rogers joined with Angela Davis, William Strickland and 20,000 other activists to form the Black Radical Congress in Chicago. Rogers has served in a number of leadership capacities with the BRC, including as a coordinating committee member and as national conference coordinator.
Members of the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression held a press conference in front of the St. Louis City Hall on June 13, 2006, to call attention what they claim are serious violations to the state’s Sunshine Law by the St. Louis Police Board.
In 2007, Rogers was part of a U.S. delegation invited by Presidente Chavez to Venezuela.
I was able to see first hand the efforts of the Bolivarian Revolution, like the land reclamation projects. I was struck by the engagement of the people in their society, many of them carried their dog-eared Venezuelan Constitution in their pockets every day. And why not? They had helped to create it. They were genuinely excited about building futures. The knowledge of African and African American History as well as the Black Liberation Movement by the Venezuelan people was remarkable. We were treated like dignitaries while in the country and were given access to the people and to many of the country’s programs like the Comités de Tierra Urbana (Urban Land Committees or CTU).