“It is time for us to turn to each other, not on each other. – The Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.
There are few black men in North America that have reached the level of respect, or who have lived long enough to witness the perpetual struggle of African Americans/Canadians, while significantly contributing to their continued social and cultural emancipation, as the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. For every modern black man or woman who has ever experienced veiled or blatant injustices, or who has a parent, an aunt, a grandmother or grandfather who has more than likely faced serious racism or any form of ethnic prejudice, it is crucial that the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is known and appreciated for his work – his passion – in the sphere of civil rights and political activism. As such, it seemed not only appropriate, but necessary for WBMW to spotlight a true contemporary, ethically authentic, black hero.
For over four decades Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has been fighting, protesting, preaching, demonstrating and representing change in the realm of civil rights and liberty for all that need it, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down or even stopping for a sip from the cup of victory. In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself, and James Bevel, another relevant civil rights minister/activist during the 60’s, selected Jackson to be head of the SCLC’s (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) Operation Breadbasket in Chicago, moving on to promote Jackson to be the national director within just a year. A key initiative of this group was to foster “selective buying” (boycotts) as a means to pressure white businesses to hire blacks and purchase goods and services from black contractors; this was one of the first signs of affirmative action, which was, and still is, something The Reverend strongly believes in.
In response to the increasing amount of war related injustices taking place overseas during the 1980’s and 1990’s, The Reverend decidedly extended his political influence to international matters of peace and diplomacy. In 1983, he traveled to Syria and successfully secured the release of a captured American pilot, Navy Lt. Robert Goodman, by way of a dramatic personal appeal to Syrian President, Hafez Al-Assad; and in the midst of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, The Reverend made a trip to Iraq to plead with Saddam Hussein for the release of foreign nationals held there as a “human shield,” and secured the release of several British citizens and twenty American captives.
Prior to Jackson’s diplomatic intervention in the conflicts occurring the middle east, he had his sights set on fundamental domestic reformation, and on November 3rd 1984 he announced his campaign for presidency. Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. then became the second African American (after Shirley Chisholm) to mount a nationwide democratic campaign for President of the United States. He later unfortunately lost his nomination to Vice President Walter Mondale; but four years later, offered himself again as a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, and though a more credible candidate, being both better financed and better organized, Jackson’s campaign suffered a significant setback when he was defeated handily in the Wisconsin primary by Michael Dukakis. Although most people did not seem to believe he had a serious chance at winning, Jackson exceeded expectations by more than doubling his previous results, prompting R.W. Apple of the New York Times to call 1988 “The Year of Jackson.”
Always the protagonist for fairness and equal rights for all, The Reverend vehemently gathered information and support to investigate the 2004 U.S. presidential election controversy, particularly the voting results in Ohio and the dubious activity surrounding its recount. He called for a congressional debate on the matter, asking for a fair count and national voting standards. He was concerned that the elections in the United States were each run with different standards by different states that employed various partisan tricks, racial biases and widespread incompetence; espousing it as an open scandal.
From his early career working with Dr. King to his current altruistic endeavors, The Reverend’s primary goal has always been to give blacks a sense of self-worth; and after resigning from SCLC, Jackson founded the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in 1996, as a merger between Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) and the National Rainbow Coalition. Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. is undeniably a concrete staple in the greater black community, with a reputable and admirable track record of perseverance and determination. He continues to set an example for equality and the never-ending pursuit of freedom in all its various related forms; and, in a gesture uncharacteristic of his generation, he has adapted with the times and is heavily involved in social media, adding such outlets as Facebook and Twitter: @revjjackson, to his ever-expanding repertoire, to remain accessible and informed about the modern struggle.
For all your efforts, successes and monumental trailblazing, WBMW fully supports and salutes you Rev. Jesse Jackson.
For more information about the Reverend Jesse Jackson visit: rainbowpush