112 Facts About Jesse Jackson


Jesse Louis Jackson is an American political activist, Baptist minister, and politician.


Jesse Jackson was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow US senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997.


Jesse Jackson is the father of former US Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.


Jesse Jackson's ancestry includes Cherokee, enslaved African-Americans, Irish planters, and a Confederate sheriff.


Jesse Jackson was given his stepfather's name in the adoption, but as he grew up he maintained a close relationship with Robinson.


Jesse Jackson attended the racially segregated Sterling High School in Greenville, where he was elected student class president, finished tenth in his class, and earned letters in baseball, football, and basketball.


Accounts of the reasons for the transfer differ, though Jesse Jackson has said that he changed schools because racial prejudice prevented him from playing quarterback and limited his participation on a competitive public-speaking team.


Edwards suggested that Jesse Jackson had left the University of Illinois in 1960 because he had been placed on academic probation, but the school's president reported in 1987 that Jesse Jackson's 1960 freshman year transcript was clean and said he would have been eligible to re-enroll at any time.


Jesse Jackson became active in local civil rights protests against segregated libraries, theaters, and restaurants.


Jesse Jackson dropped out in 1966, three classes short of earning his master's degree, to focus full-time on the civil rights movement.


Jesse Jackson was ordained a minister in 1968 and was awarded a Master of Divinity Degree in 2000 based on his previous credits earned plus his life experience and subsequent work.


On July 16,1960, while home from college, Jesse Jackson joined seven other African Americans in a sit-in at the Greenville Public Library in Greenville, South Carolina, which only allowed white people.


Jesse Jackson has been known for commanding public attention since he first started working for Martin Luther King Jr.


When Jesse Jackson returned from Selma, he was charged with establishing a frontline office for the SCLC in Chicago.


Jesse Jackson became involved in SCLC leadership disputes following King's assassination on April 4,1968.


When King was shot, Jesse Jackson was in the parking lot one floor below.


Jesse Jackson was reportedly seeking coalition with whites in order to approach what were considered racial problems as economic and class problems.


The Times indicated that Jesse Jackson was being criticized as too involved with middle-class blacks, and for having an unattainable goal of racial unity.


Jesse Jackson organized the October 1971 Black Expo in Chicago, a trade and business fair to promote black capitalism and grass roots political power.


People United to Save Humanity officially began operations on December 25,1971; Jesse Jackson later changed the name to People United to Serve Humanity.


At its inception, Jesse Jackson planned to orient Operation PUSH toward politics and to pressure politicians to work to improve economic opportunities for blacks and poor people of all races.


In 1984 Jesse 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.


Jesse Jackson's influence extended to international matters in the 1980s and 1990s.


In June 1984 Jesse Jackson negotiated the release of 22 Americans being held in Cuba after an invitation by Cuban president Fidel Castro.


In 1997, Jesse Jackson traveled to Kenya to meet with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi as United States President Bill Clinton's special envoy for democracy to promote free and fair elections.


Jesse Jackson met with then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who later agreed to release the three men.


On February 15,2003, Jesse 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 US and the United Kingdom.


In November 2004 Jesse 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 2005 Jesse Jackson was enlisted as part of the United Kingdom's Operation Black Vote, a campaign Simon Woolley ran to encourage more of Britain's ethnic minorities to vote in political elections ahead of the 2005 General Election.


In 2009 Jesse Jackson served as a speaker for the International Peace Foundation on the topic "Building a culture of peace and development in a globalized world".


Jesse Jackson visited multiple locations in Malaysia, including the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in Thailand, including NIST International School in Bangkok.


In May 1983, Jesse Jackson became the first African-American man since Reconstruction to address a joint session of the Alabama Legislature, where he said it was "about time we forgot about black and white and started talking about employed and unemployed".


On November 3,1983, Jesse Jackson 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 as a Democrat.


Jesse Jackson's candidacy divided support among black politicians, and even prominent African-Americans such as Coretta Scott King, who supported his right to run, refrained from endorsing him due to their belief he would not win the nomination.


Jesse Jackson entered the race after most prominent Democrats, such as Senator Gary Hart, and former Vice President Walter Mondale.


Jesse Jackson received the most black support of any candidate in the Georgia, Alabama and Florida primaries, where massive registration drives targeted at black voters led to a 69 percent increase in voter turnout from 1980 in Georgia and Alabama.


Jesse Jackson said afterward that he had been handicapped by party rules.


Mondale called the meeting "successful" while Jesse Jackson said it was "not complete because there are unresolved matters", though he said that he expected to support Mondale if he was the nominee.


Jesse Jackson addressed the 1984 Democratic National Convention, which notably featured an apology alluding to his comments considered derogatory to Jews and "answered the longstanding question of his loyalty to the party in the general election".


Jesse Jackson stressed that farmers and businessmen were akin to unemployed blacks in being negatively affected by the Reagan administration's economic policies.


On October 11,1987, Jesse Jackson announced his candidacy in the 1988 presidential election.


Former Democratic Party chairman Robert S Strauss said that his Michigan win showed that Jackson "has a kind of power we hadn't expected" and "a real vulnerability" in the Dukakis campaign.


Jesse Jackson narrowly lost the Colorado primary to Dukakis, and was defeated handily the next day by Dukakis in the Wisconsin primary.


Jesse Jackson's showing among white voters in Wisconsin was significantly better than in 1984, but was noticeably lower than pre-primary polling had predicted.


The day after the final primaries, Jesse Jackson met with Dukakis and they discussed some of Jesse Jackson's platform, such as a universal same-day, on-site voter registration and changing the rules for the winner-take-all delegate allocation.


Jesse Jackson reasoned that he deserved Dukakis's consideration as a running mate.


Dukakis agreed, but added that Jesse Jackson was of no "special or greater consideration" simply for coming in second place in the contests.


Jesse Jackson had to answer frequent questions about Robinson, who was often called "the Billy Carter of the Jesse Jackson campaign".


In both races Jesse Jackson ran on what many considered to be a very liberal platform.


Less than a month after the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade legalized abortion, Jackson began a PUSH campaign against the decision, calling abortion murder and declaring that Jesus and Moses might not have been born if abortion had been available in ancient times.


In 1975, Jesse Jackson endorsed a plan for a constitutional amendment banning abortion.


Jesse Jackson endorsed the Hyde Amendment, which bars the funding of abortions through the federal Medicaid program.


Jesse Jackson decried what he believed was the casual taking of life and the decline in society's values.


Jesse Jackson later changed his views, saying that women have the right to an abortion and that the government should not interfere.


Jesse Jackson instead ran for office as "shadow senator" for the District of Columbia when the position was created in 1991, serving until 1997, when he did not run for reelection.


In November 1991, Democratic National Committee chair Ron Brown reported that Jesse Jackson had told him that he would not enter the 1992 Democratic Party presidential primaries.


Jesse Jackson said focusing on the comments was unhelpful and noted that Clinton was the only one of the then-five Democratic presidential candidates who had not agreed to join Jesse Jackson on campaign trips highlighting housing, health and education issues.


Jesse Jackson was initially critical of Bill Clinton's moderate, "Third Way" policies.


In September 1996, Jesse Jackson visited rapper Tupac Shakur in the hospital after he was wounded in a drive-by shooting.


In 1997, Jesse Jackson backed Al Sharpton in his bid for mayor of New York City, denouncing Alan Hevesi for refusing to support Sharpton in the event that he won the primary, calling it "the worst conceivable time for polarizing statements and positions by responsible leaders".


Jesse Jackson called on the school board to reverse its decision.


Jesse Jackson noted 27,000 votes from Duval County were not counted on election night and most of them came from black inner-city neighborhoods.


Jesse Jackson responded to Bush's victory with plans for a national demonstration at federal buildings to coincide with Bush's inauguration and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.


On January 20,2001, Bill Clinton's final day in office, Clinton pardoned Congressman Mel Reynolds, John Bustamante, and Dorothy Rivers; Jesse Jackson had requested pardons for them.


Jesse Jackson had requested a pardon for his half-brother Noah Robinson who had been convicted of murdering Leroy Barber and sentenced to life imprisonment, but Clinton did not pardon Robinson on the grounds that Robinson had already submitted three pardon appeals, all of which the Justice Department had denied.


The 2000 recount would not be the last time Jesse Jackson clashed with Governor of Florida Jeb Bush.


On September 1,2003, Jesse Jackson was among those arrested for blocking traffic at Yale University as they showed their solidarity with striking clerical, dining hall and maintenance workers.


On June 23,2007, Jesse Jackson was arrested in connection with a protest at a gun store in Riverdale, a low-income suburb of Chicago.


Jesse Jackson was charged with one count of criminal trespassing.


In February 2004, Jackson delivered an address at the John F Kennedy School of Government, where he called for southern voters to turn away from the fears and despair that led to their support of Bush in 2000.


Jesse Jackson said the wartime credentials of John Kerry, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, would make him a formidable opponent for Bush and urged those feeling powerless to get involved.


Jesse Jackson took a key role in the scandal caused by comedian Michael Richards's onstage racist tirade at the Laugh Factory in November 2006.


Jesse Jackson joined Black leaders in a call for the elimination of the "N-word" throughout the entertainment industry.


In March 2007 Jesse Jackson declared his support for then-Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries.


Jesse Jackson later criticized Obama in 2007 for "acting like he's white" in response to the Jena 6 beating case.


Subsequent to his Fox News interview, Jesse Jackson apologized and reiterated his support for Obama.


In 2012, Jesse Jackson commended Obama's 2012 decision to support gay marriage and compared the fight for marriage equality to the fight against slavery and the anti-miscegenation laws that once prevented interracial marriage.


Jesse Jackson favored federal legislation extending marriage rights to gay people.


Jesse Jackson responded to the acquittal by refusing to accept it, comparing it to the acquittals in the cases of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers.


Jesse Jackson called for protesters to do nothing that "would diminish the moral authority of Trayvon Martin as a martyr in this case" and for the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.


In July 2013, Jesse Jackson met with Marissa Alexander and called for Angela Corey to use her influence to get Alexander's 20-year sentence reduced.


In January 2015, Jesse Jackson participated in a panel discussion at Stanford University, where he called for Palo Alto residents to combat gentrification even if it meant marching to company headquarters in Silicon Valley, and met with Silicon Valley leaders.


Jesse Jackson declined to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, citing his longtime associations with both.


Jesse Jackson admitted the video contained "significant remarks" but faulted Trump for his past involvement in the birther movement and past rhetoric that had "helped to seed these clouds".


Days before the election, Jesse Jackson cited several reasons for voters to support Clinton over Trump, including the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the appointment of US Supreme Court justices and urged them to "join the right side of history".


When he visited St John Baptist Church in Orlando, Jesse Jackson stated his support for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity investigating the suppression of minority voters, noting that between 1.3 and 1.7 million voters were ineligible to vote in Florida due to felony convictions.


In January 2018, Jesse Jackson delivered a sermon at a church in Fort Washington, Maryland, in which he accused Trump of being misleading and called him a "man of inherited wealth and privilege who seems to have no understanding of our situation".


Ahead of the 50th anniversary of King's assassination, Jesse Jackson wrote an op-ed for The New York Times reflecting on King's accomplishments and his continued relevance in current struggles.


Jesse Jackson said that both the Devil and Trump were temporary and would be outlasted by "the Lord".


In February 2019, after Jussie Smollett was reported to have been assaulted in a hate crime, Jesse Jackson called the attack an attempt at a "barbaric lynching".


Smollett was later charged with falsifying the attack, and Jesse Jackson was among those who wrote to the judge handling the case, requesting leniency for Smollett as he had already been "excoriated and vilified in the court of public opinion" and had his professional reputation "severely damaged".


In June 2019, as Biden prepared to deliver remarks for Rainbow PUSH in his capacity as a candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, Jesse Jackson said he did not understand Biden's previous support for segregated school busing but believed "he's changed" and expressed his opposition to states' rights.


In March 2020, Jesse Jackson endorsed Bernie Sanders in the primary.


Jesse Jackson said that Sanders made several commitments to him, and it was reported the civil rights leader requested Sanders pick an African-American woman as his running mate.


Jesse Jackson said protests should continue "until something happens" and advocated that protesters obey social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Shortly after the verdict, Jesse Jackson appeared with the Floyd family at a press conference, where he told attendees that they would have to "learn to live together as brothers and sisters and not die apart".


In 1979, Jesse Jackson received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged.


In 1991, Jesse Jackson received the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service.


In 2008, Jesse Jackson was presented with an Honorary Fellowship from Edge Hill University.


Jesse Jackson inherited the title of the High Prince of the Agni people of Cote d'Ivoire from Michael Jesse Jackson.


In 2015, Jesse Jackson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Edinburgh, in recognition of decades of campaigning for civil rights.


In 2021, Jesse Jackson was appointed Commander of the Legion of Honor, France's highest order of merit, presented by French president Emmanuel Macron, for his work in civil rights.


In December 2021, Jesse Jackson was elected an Honorary Fellow of Homerton College, Cambridge.


In 2022, Jesse Jackson received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Benedict College.


Jesse Jackson's younger brother, Charles "Chuck" Jesse Jackson, was a singer with the vocal group The Independents and as a solo artist issued two albums in the late 1970s.


Jesse Jackson met with Graham, but was unable to persuade him.


On Memorial Day, May 25,1987, Jesse Jackson 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.


In 2001, it was revealed Jesse Jackson had an affair with a staffer, Karin Stanford, that resulted in the birth of a daughter Ashley in May 1999.


Jesse Jackson was paying $4,000 a month in child support as of 2001.


Former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile praised Jesse Jackson for helping "to enable a new generation of African Americans to serve" through his presidential campaign.


Jesse Jackson had mistakenly assumed the references would not be printed.


On March 8,2020, Jesse Jackson endorsed Jewish candidate Bernie Sanders for president.