The Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr., Founder and President of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, is one of America's foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past forty years he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. Reverend Jackson has been called the Conscience of the Nation and the Great Unifier, challenging America to be inclusive and to establish just and human priorities for the benefit of all. He is known for bringing people together in common ground across lines of race, culture, class, gender and belief.
Born on October 8, 1941, in Greenville, South Carolina, Jesse Jackson graduated from the public schools in Greenville, then enrolled in the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He later transferred to North Carolina A&T State University, and graduated in 1964. He began his theological studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary, but deferred his studies when he began working full-time in the Civil Rights Movement. Reverend Jackson received his earned Master of Divinity Degree in 2000.
Reverend Jesse Jackson began his activism as a student in the summer of 1960 seeking to desegregate the local public library in Greenville, and then as a leader in the sit-in movement. In 1965 he became a full-time organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership