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Born:October 8, 1941 (age 80)GreenvilleSouth Carolina...(Show more)Political Affiliation:Democratic Party...(Show more)Awards and also Honors:Presidential Medal of flexibility (2000)...(Show more)Role In:American civil civil liberties movementOperation Breadbasket...(Show more)

Jesse Jackson, original name Jesse luigi Burns, (born October 8, 1941, Greenville, southern Carolina, U.S.), American civil civil liberties leader, Baptist minister, and also politician who bids because that the U.S. Presidency (in the democratic Party’s nomination gyeongju in 1983–84 and 1987–88) were the most successful through an african American until 2008, as soon as Barack Obama captured the autonomous presidential nomination. Jackson’s life and also career have actually been marked by both success and controversy.

Jesse adopted the surname of his stepfather, Charles Jackson, at about age 15. A an excellent student in high school, Jesse to be elected class president and also later to visit the university of Illinois (1959–60) ~ above a soccer scholarship. He then moved to the predominantly Black farming and technical College of phibìc Carolina in Greensboro and received a B.A. In sociology (1964). He relocated to Chicago in 1966, walk graduate work-related at the Chicago Theological Seminary, and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968.

While an undergraduate, Jackson became associated in the civil legal rights movement. In 1965 he checked out Selma, Alabama, come march through Martin Luther King, Jr., and became a worker in King’s southern Christian leadership Conference (SCLC). Jackson helped found the Chicago branch of procedure Breadbasket, the financial arm of the SCLC, in 1966 and served together the organization’s nationwide director indigenous 1967 come 1971. He was in Memphis, Tennessee, with King once the civil rights leader to be assassinated on April 4, 1968, though his specific location in ~ the moment King was shot has actually long been a issue of controversy. Accused of using the SCLC for an individual gain, Jackson was suspended by the organization, whereupon he formally resigned in 1971 and founded procedure PUSH (People joined to save Humanity), a Chicago-based organization in which he promoted Black self-help and achieved a broad audience because that his free views. In 1984 he created the nationwide Rainbow Coalition, i m sorry sought equal civil liberties for afri Americans, women, and also homosexuals. These two organizations combined in 1996 to kind the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.


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Jackson started traveling commonly in the late 1970s come mediate or spotlight worldwide problems and also disputes. In 1979 he visited southern Africa, wherein he speak out versus apartheid, and he later on journeyed to the strife-ridden center East and campaigned to provide Palestinians their own state. While some observers and also government public representative frowned ~ above his diplomatic objectives as meddlesome and self-aggrandizing, Jackson nonetheless won praise for negotiating the relax of U.S. Soldiers and civilians about the world, including in Syria (1984), Iraq (1990), and Yugoslavia (1999).


In the 1980s Jackson became a leading nationwide spokesman and advocate for African Americans. His voter-registration drive was a crucial factor in the choice of Chicago’s very first African American mayor, Harold Washington, in April 1983. The complying with year Jackson ran for the democratic presidential nomination. Throughout the campaign he attracted criticism for his relationship with louis Farrakhan that the country of Islam and also for do a disparaging remark about new York’s Jewish community; Jackson later on apologized because that his comments and also distanced himself from Farrakhan. In what to be then the the strongest showing ever by an african American candidate, Jackson placed 3rd in the major voting. In 1988 the staged another bid because that the democratic nomination and came in 2nd to the party’s ultimate nominee, Michael Dukakis. Jackson’s increasing influence within the autonomous Party ensured the African American worries were vital part the the party’s platform. Jackson, a dynamic orator, make memorable speeches in ~ later democratic conventions however declined to run again because that the presidency.

In 1989 Jackson took residency in Washington, D.C., and in 1990, once the Washington City Council developed two unpaid offices of “statehood senator”—popularly dubbed “shadow senator”—to lobby the U.S. Congress because that statehood because that the district of Columbia, Jackson won choice to one of the posts, his very first elective office. In 1997 President invoice Clinton named him a one-of-a-kind envoy come Africa, where he travel to promote human rights and democracy. The year Jackson additionally founded the wall Street Project, i m sorry sought to increase minority opportunities in that company America.

During the impeachment hearings versus Clinton in 1998, Jackson counseled the president, and also in 2000 Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal the Freedom. That year Jackson likewise received a understand of Divinity level from the Chicago Theological Seminary. The adhering to year, however, he came to be embroiled in controversy when it was revealed the he had actually fathered a boy out of wedlock. Jackson ongoing his social activism, providing lectures and also leading protests. His books include Straight indigenous the Heart (1987; ed. By i get it D. Hatch and Frank E. Watkins) and Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice, and the death Penalty (1995). His kid Jesse Jackson, Jr., served in the U.S. Residence of to represent (1995–2012).

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The editor of Encyclopaedia glossesweb.comThis article was most recently revised and also updated through Adam Augustyn.