Historical Dictionary of the 1960s

By Samuel Freeman; James S. Olson | Go to book overview

J

JACKSON, JESSE . Jesse Jackson, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, was born October 8, 1941. A gifted athlete, he received a football scholarship to the University of Illinois in 1959, but he experienced what he considered unacceptable racist treatment in Urbana and transferred to North Carolina A&T College in Greensboro. It was an auspicious decision. He became the leader of the famous "sit-ins"* at Greensboro lunch counters. Jackson would enter the restaurant and ask to be served. When the proprietors denied him service, students set up picket lines, occupied the other seats in the establishment, and refused to leave.

After graduating from North Carolina A&T, where he had decided to go into the ministry, Jackson moved back to Illinois to attend the Chicago Theological Seminary. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference* in 1963 and managed to organize most of the black clergymen in Chicago in support of Martin Luther King, Jr.* Jackson also founded Operation Breadbasket, a program in Chicago that called on black people to boycott stores and businesses that would not hire black workers. He came to Martin Luther King's attention, and he was in Memphis, Tennessee, with the civil rights leader when the assassination occurred. In 1971, Jackson left the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and formed Operation PUSH, an advocacy group dedicated to promoting black education and the hiring of black workers.

In subsequent years, Jackson emerged as the most prominent civil rights leader in the country. He spoke of black pride and black responsibility and of the need for compassion for the poor and downtrodden, with passion and inspiration. In the 1980s, Jackson turned to more traditional political action. He decided to run in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1984 and 1988 under the aegis of what he called the Rainbow Coalition, an alliance of minority groups. Although he did not win the nomination, he became a power broker in the Democratic Party because of the support he had among African-American

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Historical Dictionary of the 1960s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • A 1
  • B 35
  • C 83
  • D 125
  • E 145
  • F 161
  • G 184
  • H 212
  • I 239
  • J 246
  • K 254
  • L 272
  • M 284
  • N 317
  • O 347
  • P 359
  • Q 378
  • R 379
  • S 402
  • T 437
  • U 455
  • V 460
  • W 470
  • X 487
  • Y 488
  • Z 490
  • Chronology of the 1960s 493
  • Selected Bibliography 507
  • Index 527
  • About the Contributors 545
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