Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.
Founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition
The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, President and
Founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, is a leading
international social and political figure.
His thirty-year history as an activist in nearly
every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender
equality, and economic and social justice in America and
abroad places him among the most highly respected leaders of
the world. Because
of his efforts on behalf of a more just and humane society,
Reverend Jackson has been named “conscience of the
nation” and “the great unifier.”
May 1999, Reverend Jackson negotiated successfully the
release of three soldiers of the United States Army, held
captive in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.
He also helped to end the conflict over the ethnic
Albanian majority’s demands for autonomy for Kosovo.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright appointed him as the “Special
Envoy of the President and Secretary of State for the
Promotion of Democracy in Africa.”
In 1990, Reverend Jackson was the first American to
bring hostages out of Kuwait and Iraq.
While serving as a United States diplomat in 1984, he
negotiated the release of a captured Navy Lieutenant from
Syria, as well as the release of 48 Cuban and Cuban-American
founded the People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) in 1971,
and the Rainbow Coalition in 1984.
They were merged in 1996 to create the Rainbow/PUSH
coalition, a national social justice organization devoted to
political empowerment, education, and an improved public
Reverend Jackson’s political aspirations set a
precedent in American politics during two bids for the
United States presidency.
In 1988, his national campaign won seven million
votes, registered two million new voters, and helped
hundreds of candidates win elective offices.
Following his presidential campaign of 1984, he was
named the “Third Most Admired Man in America,” and his
success helped the Democratic Party regain control of the
attended Chicago Theological Seminary as a postgraduate
until joining the Civil Rights Movement full-time in 1965 as
a student leader in sit-in demonstrations.
He later became an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. Since
then, he has earned more than 40 Honorary Doctorate degrees
from universities across the country including Howard,
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Pepperdine, Oral Roberts, and many
attended the University of Illinois on a football
1964, he transferred to North Carolina A&T University,
and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, he is married
to Jacqueline Lavinia Brown, and has five children: Santita,
Jesse Louis, Jr., Jonathan Luther, Yusef DuBois, and