KEEP HOPE ALIVE
"REV JESSE JACKSON"
During his lifetime of public service, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. has become an icon of our religious, political, social, and cultural lives. Having magnetized people of every profession, social position, and cultural persuasion for more than forty years, the Presidential Medal of Freedom winner has been at the vanguard of the civil and human rights movement in every locality and to every nationality. His two historic bids for the Presidency of the United States compelled civil rights icon and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young to call Reverend Jackson the "moral conscience of our times". A master of the zeitgeist, his formation of the Rainbow Coalition has prompted countless others to tout him as "the Great Unifier". Born on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina, Rev. Jackson was a gifted studentathlete who was recruited to play professional baseball by the Chicago White Sox, opting instead to attend Big Ten powerhouse the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana on a football scholarship. Later transferring to North Carolina A&T State University, he continued his collegiate football career while simultaneously falling under the tutelage of legendary scholartheologian and former U.S. Peace Corps Director, Rev. Dr. Samuel Proctor. Feeling him best suited for the ministry, Rev. Dr. Proctor convinced him to accept a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to pursue a master's degree at the University of Chicago's Chicago Theological Seminary. It was then, in 1965, that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hired him to join his staff and head up the fledgling economic development arm of his organization S.C.L.C., Operation Breadbasket, thus, prompting him to join the Civil Rights Movement full time.