Jesse Louis Jackson – 1941–
Born into a poor African-American family in Greenville, South Carolina, Jackson earned a scholarship to the University of Illinois during 1959–1960, completed his undergraduate degree in sociology in 1964 at the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina, then did postgraduate work at Chicago Theological Seminary, becoming ordained as a Baptist minister in 1968. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson started Operation Breadbasket in Chicago in 1966 and, in 1971,
Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), an organization to promote black selfreliance.
A major figure in the civil rights movement both before and after King’s assassination in 1968, Jackson led a voter registration program that helped elect Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, in 1983. From this point on, Jackson earned a reputation as an influential political figure on the national as well as international scene.