The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., is Founder and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Reverend Jackson graduated North Carolina A&T State University in 1964. He then pursued his theological studies at the University of Chicago and upon graduation began working full-time for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. He eventually earned his Master’s of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2000.
For his work in human and civil rights and nonviolent social change, Reverend Jackson has received more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees and frequently lectures at major colleges and universities including Howard, Yale, Princeton, Morehouse, Harvard, the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, Columbia, Stanford and Hampton.
In 1984, Reverend Jackson founded the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization based in Washington, D.C devoted to political empowerment, education and changing public policy. In September of 1996, the Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue the work of both organizations and to maximize resources.
Reverend Jackson’s two presidential campaigns, one in 1984 and the second in 1988, broke new ground in U.S. politics. In 1991, Reverend Jesse Jackson was elected Senator of Washington, D.C., advocating for statehood for the nation’s capital and advancing the “rainbow” agenda at the national and international levels. In October 1997, Reverend Jackson was appointed by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as "Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa”.
Reverend Jackson also supports a broad range of policies to improve education, eliminate poverty, and remind everyone that we are a "One-Big-Tent-America," with room for all, and none left in the margins.
Among the many honors that he has receive in for his decades of work, Reverend Jackson, a Liftetime member of the NAACP, was particularly honored to have become the recipient of the most prestigious that this organization bestows, the Spingarn Medal.