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A Civil Rights Leader, Underrated: Rev. Jesse Jackson

By Linden Beckford Jr.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is a man who needs to be recognized as a Civil Rights Warrior. They say that you can judge a man by his track record. It can never be said that Rev. Jackson has not put in much work. Not only has he put in work, he continues to be putting in work in 2017.

As a young man, Jackson stood for his rights and dignity in the early 1960’s. This was while he was an undergraduate student at North Carolina AT&T University. His activism in the movement goes back to this time. He is truly a man who has earned his stripes!

It is a fact that we all are all a sum of our life experiences. With that said, Jim Crow in South Carolina during the youth of Rev.Jackson as well as his first year at University of Illinois, shaped and molded him. He comes from the generation of Stokely Carmichael, Huey P.Newton, Ray “Masai”Hewitt, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and Muhammad Ali.

One of things that makes Rev. Jackson stand out is that he was able to represent the bridge between traditional Afro-American culture and the rising militants of the 1960’s. We tend to overlook Rev. Jackson’s participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches. The documentary “Eyes on The Prize” as well as the movie “Selma” do not show Rev. Jesse Jackson!

It is disturbing to see how the younger generation is being brainwashed to believe that Rev. Jesse Jackson is an “ambulance chaser” when it comes to injustices in the Black community. I beg your pardon!! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. selected Rev. Jackson to head the Chicago branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) economic arm, Operation Breadbasket.

As time progressed, Rev.Jackson’s chant, “I Am Somebody,” was in concert with Dr. King’s declaration “Black Is Beautiful.” Anyone who suggests that Dr. King was not preaching Blackness is ill informed. Jackson would sport a big Afro and sport a colorful dashiki. He would clearly exhibit how unapologetically Afro-American he is. This is something that present day haters do not get! His running for the President during the 1980’s opened the door for Barack Obama. Therefore, without Rev. Jesse Jackson, there would have been no President Barack Obama!

Let us not forget, Rev. Jackson having Africa on the brain. He was involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1980’s and was very influential in having Blacks in North America referring to ourselves as African-Americans. That was a positive move. Do not pay attention to the naysayer/reactionary elements!

Rev. Jackson has demonstrated that he is “No Coward Soldier”. There is no doubt that when the “Great Getting’ Up Morning” comes, the Lord will say to Rev. Jackson, “Servant, Well Done!”

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