Jesse Jackson is a famous Civil Rights leader, often considered to be one of the greatest. He believes that African Americans should get more political power. He fought for that power by being the second black American to run for President (the first was Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm in 1972 but wasn't a factor in the election). He was the first African-American to be a contender in a presidential election. Throughout the Civil Rights Movement he was always known as the man that TOOK action with what was given to him.
Jesse Jackson was born Jesse Louis Burns in 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina. He was born to the parents of Helen Burns and Noah Robinson. His mother remarried two years later to a man named Charles Jackson (Jesse later in life changed his name to Jesse Louis Jackson because of his stepfather). He graduated from Sterling High School and received a football scholarship to the University of Illinois. During his first year, he became dissatisfied with his treatment on the campus and on the field. He was told that as a black he could not expect to play quarterback. Less than a year later, Jesse decided to finish his college years in the south, thus transferring to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jackson first became involved in the Civil Rights movement while a student at North Carolina A&T. There at NC A&T he joined the Greensboro chapter of the Council on Racial Equality (CORE), an organization that had led early sit-ins to protest segregated lunch counters. In early 1963 Jackson organized numerous marches, sit-ins, and mass arrests to press for the desegregation of local restaurants and theaters (Frady 23). His leadership in these events earned him recognition within the regional movement. He was chosen president of the North Carolina Intercollegiate Council on Human Rights, field director of CORE's southeastern operations, and in 1964 served as delegate to the Young Democrats National Convention. There he became active in sit-ins with other students at the college.
In June of 1963, he graduated from college just as massive civil rights demonstrations gripped Birmingham, Alabama, and other Southern cities. As a leader of the campus chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, Jackson had declared his willingness to go to jail or to the chain gang if necessary. He led 278 civil rights demonstrators who were arrested in Greensboro (Frady 36).
By this time, Jesse was torn between a desire to prepare for the ministry and a determination to be at the Civil Rights Movement's front lines. He soon enrolled for study at Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1965 he enlisted in the voting rights campaign of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Selma, Alabama, where he first met Martin Luther King, Jr....