Jessie Louis Jackson Sr.


Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.(born October 8, 1941)- is an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as "shadow senator" for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. is his eldest son. According to an AP-AOL "Black Voices" poll in February 2006, Jackson was voted "the most important black leader" with 15% of the vote.

Rainbow/PUSH is a non-profit organization formed as a merger of two non-profit organizations — Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) and the National Rainbow Coalition — founded by Jesse Jackson. The organizations pursue social justice, civil rights and political activism.

The National Rainbow Coalition (Rainbow Coalition for short) was a political organization that grew out of Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential campaign. During the campaign Jackson began speaking to a "Rainbow Coalition" of the disadvantaged and welcomed voters from a broad spectrum of races and creeds. The goals of the campaign were to demand social programs, voting rights, and affirmative action for all groups that had been neglected by Reaganomics. Jackson's campaign blamed President Ronald Reagan's policies for reduction of government domestic spending, causing new unemployment and encouraging economic investment outside of the inner cities, while they discouraged the rebuilding of urban industry. The industrial layoffs caused by these policies hit the black and other minority populations particularly hard.

At the 1984 Democratic National Convention on July 18, 1984 in San Francisco, California, Jackson delivered the Keynote address, entitled "The Rainbow Coalition". The speech called for Arab Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, youth, disabled veterans, small farmers, lesbians and gays to join with African Americans and Jewish Americans for political purpose. Whereas the purpose of PUSH had been to fight for economic and educational opportunities, the Rainbow Coalition was created to address political empowerment and public policy issues. After his unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in 1984, Jackson attempted to build a broad base of support among groups that, according to the encyclopedia Encarta, "were hurt by Reagan administration policies" - racial minorities, the poor, small farmers, working mothers, the unemployed, some labor union members, gays, and lesbians.