As a young man, left his studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary to join Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in its crusade for black civil rights in the South; when King was assassinated in Memphis in April 1968, Jackson was at his side. In 1971, Jackson founded PUSH, or People United to Save Humanity (later changed to People United to Serve Humanity), an organization that advocated self–reliance for African Americans and sought to establish racial parity in the business and financial community. He was a leading voice for blacks in America during the early 1980s, urging them to be more politically active and heading up a voter registration drive that led to the election of Harold Washington as the first black mayor of Chicago in 1983. The following year, Jackson ran for the Democratic nomination for president. On the strength of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, he placed third in the primaries, propelled by a surge of black voter participation. He ran again in 1988 and received 6.6 million votes, or 24 percent of the total primary vote, winning seven states and finishing second behind the eventual Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis. Jackson’s continued influence in the Democratic Party in the decades that followed ensured that African–American issues had an important role in the party’s platform. Throughout his long career, Jackson has inspired both admiration and criticism for his tireless efforts on behalf of the black community and his outspoken public persona. His son, Jesse L. Jackson Jr., won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1995.


Satisfied customers are saying