October 8, 1941
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was elected as a Democratic candidate for the US Presidency in 1984 which was the most successful In African American History until the election of President Obama. He has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, NAACP Image Award – President’s Award, Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
Jesse Louis Burns was born October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina. He graduated High School and enrolled into the University of Illinois with a football scholarship. He attended the University from 1959- 1960. Within the one of attending the university he found it to very racial divided and decided to transfer his academic credits to North Carolina a&T a historically black university located in Greensboro, North Carolina. He graduated and received his B.S. in sociology in 1964. He then attended the Chicago Theological Seminary on a scholarship. He dropped out in 1966, three classes short of earning his master’s degree, to focus full-time on the civil rights movement with Dr. King movement. He was ordained a minister in 1968, and in 2000, was awarded his Master of Divinity Degree based on his previous credits earned, plus his life experience and subsequent work.
Jackson has been known for commanding public attention since he first started working for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1965, Jackson participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by James Bevel in Alabama. Dr. King and the other leaders became so impressed by Jessie drive and organizational abilities, so Dr. King began giving Jackson a role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), though he was concerned about Jackson’s apparent ambition and attention-seeking. When Rev. Jackson returned from Selma, he was charged with establishing a frontline office for the SCLC in Chicago.
In 1966, King and Bevel selected Jackson to head the Chicago branch of the SCLC’s economic arm which made a him a lot of opponents in the camp, Operation Breadbasket and he was promoted to national director in 1967. Under his guidance his focus was to encourage massive boycotts by black consumers as a means to pressure white-owned businesses to hire blacks and to purchase goods and services from black-owned firms. Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a 1950s proponent of the consumer boycott tactic, soon became a major supporter of Jessie efforts – donating and raising funds, and introducing Jackson to prominent members of the black business community in Chicago.
After the murder of Dr. King a lot was left on Jessie shoulders due to the fact that he was one of MlK confidants. Jackson became involved with Poor People’s Crusade in Washington, D.C., and was credited with managing its 15-acre tent city – but he began to increasingly clash with Ralph Abernathy, King’s successor as chairman of the SCLC. In 1969, The New York Times reported that Jackson was being viewed as King’s successor by several black leaders and that Jackson was one of the few black activists who were preaching racial reconciliation.
“When we change the race problem into a class fight between the haves and the have-nots, then we are going to have a new ball game.
In the spring of 1971, Abernathy ordered Jessie to move the national office of Operation Breadbasket from Chicago to Atlanta and sought to place another person in charge of local Chicago activities, but He refused to move. He organized the October 1971 Black Expo in Chicago, a trade and business fair to promote black capitalism and grass roots political power. The five-day event was attended by black businessmen from 40 states, as well as politicians such as Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Daley’s presence was seen as a testament to the growing political and economic power of blacks.
Reverend Jessie Jackson and Mr. Abernathy in December 1971 got into a heated debate and finally they which led to a split in the SCLC. . Mr. Abernathy, whose prominence in the Civil Rights Movement began to wane As Jessie continued with national recognition. Al Sharpton, then youth group leader of the SCLC, left the organization to protest Jackson’s treatment and formed the National Youth Movement. Jackson, his entire Breadbasket staff, and 30 of the 35 board members resigned from the SCLC and began planning a new organization which became the Rainbow Coalition.
THE NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENCY- OPERATION PUSH AND RAINBOW COALITION.
People United to Save Humanity (Operation PUSH) officially began operations on December 25, 1971; but later he changed the name to People United to Serve Humanity.T.R.M. Howard was installed as a member of the board of directors and chair of the finance committee. At its inception, this was to pressure politicians to work to improve economic opportunities for blacks and poor people of all races. SCLC officials reportedly felt the new organization would help black businesses more than it would help the poor.
In 1978 Jackson called for a closer relationship between blacks and the Republican Party, telling the Party’s National Committee that “Black people need the Republican Party to compete for us so we can have real alternatives … The Republican Party needs black people if it is ever to compete for national office.”
In 1984, Jackson organized the RAINBOW COALITION and resigned his post as president of Operation PUSH in 1984 to run for president of the United States, though he remained involved as chairman of the board. PUSH’s activities were described in 1987 as conducting boycotts of business to induce them to provide more jobs and business to blacks and as running programs for housing, social services and voter registration. The organization was funded by contributions from businesses and individuals. In early 1987 the continued existence of Operation PUSH was imperiled by debt, a fact that was used by Jackson’s political opponents during his race for the 1988 Democratic Party nomination. In 1996, the Operation PUSH and Rainbow Coalition organizations were merged.
Reverend Jackson influence extended to international matters during the Regan Era in the 1980s and 1990s. During the 1980s, he achieved wide fame as a politician, as well as becoming a well-known spokesman for civil rights issues. Jessie Jackson also mediated in the national firefighters’ strike.
On November 3, 1983, he announced his campaign for President of the United States in the 1984 election, becoming the second African American to mount a nationwide campaign for president.
In the Democratic Party primaries, Jackson, who had been written off by pundits as a fringe candidate with little chance at winning the nomination, surprised many when he took third place behind Senator Gary Hart and former Vice President Walter Mondale, who eventually won the nomination. Jackson garnered 3,282,431 primary votes, or 18.2 percent of the total, in 1984, and won three to five primaries and caucuses, including Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, and one of two separate contests in Mississippi. More Virginia caucus-goers supported Jesse Jackson than any other candidate, but Walter Mondale won more Virginia delegates.
In 1983, Jackson traveled to Syria to secure the release of a captured American pilot, Navy Lt. Robert Goodman who was being held by the Syrian government. He made an appeal to Syrian President Hafez al-Assa and Lt. Robert Goodman was released. When they reached back to the United States President Ronald Reagan welcomed both Jackson and Goodman to the White House on January 4, 1984. This helped to boost Jackson’s popularity as an American patriot and served as a springboard for his 1984 presidential run. In June 1984, Jackson negotiated the release of twenty-two Americans being held in Cuba after an invitation by Cuban president Fidel Castro.
In 1988, Jackson again sought the Democratic Party presidential nomination. According to a November 1987 article in The New York Times, “Most political analysts give him little chance of being nominated – partly because he is black, partly because of his unretrenched liberalisms However, his successes in the past made him a more credible candidate, and he was both better financed and better organized than in 1984. Jackson once again exceeded expectations as he more than doubled his previous results, prompting R.W. Apple of The New York Times to call 1988 “the Year of Jackson”. He won 55% of the vote in the Michigan Democratic caucus; he was considered the frontrunner for the nomination, as he surpassed all the other candidates in total number of pledged delegates. However, Jackson’s campaign suffered a significant setback less than two weeks after the UAW endorsement when he narrowly lost the Colorado primary to Michael Dukakis, and was defeated handily the following day in the Wisconsin primary by Dukakis. Jackson’s showing among white voters in Wisconsin was significantly higher than in his 1984 run, but was also noticeably lower than pre-primary polling had predicted. The back-to-back victories established Dukakis as the clear Democratic frontrunner and he went on to claim the party’s nomination, but lost the general election in November.
Rev.Jackson ran for office as “shadow senator” for the District of Columbia when the position was created in 1991. He was elected and served as such through 1997, when he did not run for re-election. This unpaid position was primarily a post to lobby for statehood for the District of Columbia. In the mid-1990s, he was approached about being the United States Ambassador to South Africa but declined the opportunity in favor of helping his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., run for the United States House of Representatives.
During Bill Clinton run for Presidency Rev. Jackson became a key ally in gaining African American support for Clinton and eventually became a close adviser and friend of the Clinton family. His son, Jesse Jackson, Jr, also emerged as a political figure, becoming a member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois.
Still continuing with his international ambassadorship on the eve of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Jackson made a trip to Iraq, to plead to Saddam Hussein for the release of foreign nationals held there as the “human shield”, securing the release of several British and twenty American individuals. In 1997 to meet with Kenyan President Daniel Moi as United States President Bill Clinton’s special envoy for democracy to promote free and fair elections. In April 1999, during the Kosovo War, Jackson traveled to Belgrade to negotiate the release of three U.S. POWs captured on the Macedonian border while patrolling with a UN peacekeeping unit. He met with the then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević, who later agreed to release the three men.
His international efforts continued into the 2000s. On February 15, 2003, Jackson spoke in front of over an estimated one million people in Hyde Park, London at the culmination of the anti-war demonstration against the IMMINENT INVASION OF IRAQ by the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In November 2004, Jackson visited senior politicians and community activists in Northern Ireland in an effort to encourage better cross-community relations and rebuild the peace process and restore the governmental institutions of the Belfast Agreement. In August 2005, he traveled to Venezuela to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, following controversial remarks by televangelist Pat Robertson in which he implied that Chávez should be assassinated. Jackson condemned Robertson’s remarks as immoral. After meeting with Chávez and addressing the Venezuelan Parliament, Rev. Jackson said that there was no evidence that Venezuela posed a threat to the U.S. Jackson also met representatives FROM THE AFRO VENEZUELA AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES. In 2005, he was enlisted as part of the United Kingdom’s “Operation Black Vote”, a campaign run by Simon Woolley to encourage more of Britain’s ethnic minorities to vote in political elections ahead of the May 2005 General Election.
March 2007, Jackson declared his support for then-Senator Obama in the 2008 democratic primaries. Subsequent to his Fox News interview, Jackson apologized and reiterated his support for Obama. Through his know fame and support with the help of others
Obama won the President Election making history and becoming United States first African American President.
Rev. Jessie Jackson married Jacqueline Lavinia Brown, together they have five children: Santita, Jesse, Jr., Jonathan Luther, Yusef DuBois , and Jacqueline Lavinia.
On Memorial Day, May 25, 1987, Jesse was made a Master Mason on Sight by Grand Master Senter of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Illinois; thereby making him a Prince Hall Freemason.
Even with all the controversies surrounding him during his life. He has kept the dream of MLK legacy alive and by this cemented his own legacy of civil rights leader, clergyman, journalist, and “citizen of the world which will be unmatched for decades and centuries to come. He has taken ownership of all that he has done and has not used displacement in events to be put on another which is what a true leader does.
Ebony Magazine named Jackson to its “100 most influential black Americans” list in 1971.
In 1979, Jackson received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged.
In 1989, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
In 1991, Jackson received the American Whig-Cliosophic Society’s James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service.
Clinton awarded Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest honor bestowed on civilians in August 2000.
2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante included Jackson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
2008, Jackson was presented with an Honorary Fellowship from Edge Hill University.
In an AP-AOL “Black Voices” poll in February 2006, Jackson was voted “the most important black leader”.