Jesse Jackson

Jackson, Jesse Louis

Jesse Louis Jackson, 1941–, African-American political leader, clergyman, and civil-rights activist, b. Greenville, S.C. Raised in poverty, he attended the Chicago Theological Seminary (1963–65) and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968. Active in the civil-rights movement, he became a close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. He served as executive director (1966–71) of Operation Breadbasket, a program of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that addressed the economic problems of African Americans in northern cities. In 1971 he founded Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), an organization to combat racism. Since 1986 he has been president of the National Rainbow Coalition, an independent political organization aimed at uniting disparate groups—racial minorities, the poor, peace activists, and environmentalists. In 1984 and 1988, Jackson, an effective public speaker, campaigned for the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first African American to contend seriously for that office. He was elected (1990) as a nonvoting member of the Senate from the District of Columbia and has campaigned for its statehood. He has written Legal Lynching (1996), an attack on capital punishment.

See biography by M. Frady (1996); studies by A. L. Reed, Jr. (1986), E. O. Coulton (1989), A. D. Hertzke (1993), and K. L. Stanford (1997).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Jesse Jackson: Selected full-text books and articles

Jesse Jackson and the Politics of Race By Thomas H. Landess; Richard M. Quinn Jameson Books, 1985
A History of African-American Leadership By Bruce J. Dierenfield; John White Routledge, 2014 (3rd edition)
Blacks in Southern Politics By Laurence W. Moreland; Robert P. Steed; Tod A. Baker Praeger, 1987
Librarian's tip: Part III "Southern Politics and the 1984 Presidential Campaign of Jesse"
Blacks and the American Political System By Huey L. Perry; Wayne Parent University Press of Florida, 1995
Librarian's tip: Chap. 4 "Jesse Jackson's Campaigns for the Presidency: A Comparison of the 1984 and 1988 Democratic Primaries"
Black Politics and Black Political Behavior By Hanes Walton Jr Praeger, 1994
Librarian's tip: Chap. 5 "The Jesse Jackson Campaign and the Institutionalization of Grass-Roots Politics: A Comparative Perspective"
Campaign for President: The Managers Look at '84 By Jonathan Moore Auburn House, 1986
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of Jesse Jackson in multiple chapters
Subordination or Empowerment? African-American Leadership and the Struggle for Urban Political Power By Richard A. Keiser Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. Two "Black Political Subordination in Chicago"
Keeping the Dream Alive: A History of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from King to the Nineteen-Eighties By Thomas R. Peake Peter Lang, 1987
Librarian's tip: Includes discussion of Jesse Jackson in multiple chapters
African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook By Richard W. Leeman Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: "Jesse Louis Jackson (1941- ), Minister, Civil Rights Activist, U.S. Presidential Candidate" begins on p. 192
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