The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson


Jesse Jackson: Chronology


  • October 8, 1941
    Jesse Louis Burns born.

  • 1956
    Takes his stepfather's name. Becomes Jesse Louis Jackson.

  • Spring 1959
    Graduates from Sterling High School in Greenville, South Carolina.

  • Fall 1959-Spring 1960
    Attends University of Illinois.

  • Fall 1961
    Transfers to North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College.

  • December 31, 1962
    Marries Jacqueline Lavinia Brown.

  • April/May/June 1963
    Becomes a leader of civil rights demonstrations in Greensboro, North Carolina.

  • June 6, 1963
    Arrested in Greensboro for "inciting to riot and disturbing the peace and dignity of the state."

  • May 1964
    Graduates from North Carolina A & T.

  • September 1964
    Enters the Chicago Theological Seminary.

  • March 1965
    After watching 'Bloody Sunday' on television, Jackson is among thousands who head to Selma, Alabama. Meets Dr. King; asks him for a job.

  • Spring 1966
    Becomes head of Chicago chapter of SCLC's Operation Breadbasket. Launches first economic boycott.

  • Summer 1966
    Jackson among the leaders of King's open housing marches in Chicago.

  • Summer of 1967
    Becomes the national director of Operation Breadbasket.

  • April 4, 1968
    King assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee while there to support striking garbage workers.

  • June 30, 1968
    Jackson becomes an ordained minister.

  • December 1971
    Resigns from SCLC and starts Operation PUSH.

  • Summer 1972
    Jackson and William Singer unseat the Mayor Daley delegate slate at the Democratic convention in Miami.

  • 1977
    Founds PUSH/Excel, a program to encourage inner-city kids in their schoolwork.

  • 1979
    Makes controversial visit to Middle East.

  • October 1983
    Enters the 1984 Democratic presidential race.

  • December 1983
    In Syria, frees downed U.S. pilot Robert Goodman.

  • February 1984
    'Hymietown' comments reported; he apologizes.

  • 1984
    Founds the National Rainbow Coalition.

  • March 1988
    With his victory in Michigan, Jackson takes the lead in popular votes and delegates in the 1988 Democratic presidential primary. Eventually loses to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

  • 1989
    Moves to Washington, D.C.

  • September 1991
    Wins the release of hundreds of foreign nationals being held in Kuwait by Saddam Hussein.

  • Fall 1991
    Announces he will not run for President in 1992.

  • 1996
    Returns to Operation PUSH in Chicago.

  • February 1997
    Jackson proposes an initiative to help close the learning gap between black and white children in part by emphasizing the role of parents. He seeks pledges from approximately 40,000 black parents to become more involved with their children's education and plans meetings with school officials from 45 cities.

  • December 1997
    Jackson visits Kenya as President Clinton's "special envoy for democracy" and speaks with Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi to promote peaceful national elections.

  • February 1998
    Jackson returns to Kenya to help defuse ethnic tensions and keep Kenya's democratic reforms on track.

  • April 29, 1999
    During the Kosovo war, Jackson leaves for Belgrade to negotiate the release of three U.S. POW's captured on the Macedonia border while patrolling with a UN peacekeeping unit.

  • May 1999
    Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic releases the three POW's. After his meeting with Milosevic, Jackson urges NATO officials and Milosevic to "choose the bargaining table over the battlefield."

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