Reverend Jesse Jackson
Founder & President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., Founder, and President of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is one of the foremost civil rights, religious and political figures of our time. For nearly 50 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for peace, civil rights, empowerment, gender equality, and economic and social justice the world over. A testament to the breadth and depth of his works can best be expressed by two of the highest honors he has received. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to Reverend Jackson; and, in 2013, the South African government bestowed upon him their highest civilian honor, their National Order, the Companions of OR Tambo.
Reverend Jackson is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, faith, gender, culture, and class. In 1965, he became a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and was soon, thereafter, appointed by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to direct the Operation Breadbasket program.
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.