A. An American Hero
Knowing how to address Jesse Jackson might be a problem. Should one call him Mr.Jackson, or should he be addressed as Jesse in response to his relaxed, unaffected style? Perhaps he should be called Reverend Jackson to acknowledge that he is an Baptist ordained minister, or Dr. Jackson in recognition of his doctor of divinity degree. However one decides to address him, only part of this complex and influential person will be acknowledged. (1)
Jackson was born Jesse Louis Burns on October 8, 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina. His mother, Helen Burns was a 16- year old single mother, when he was born. His biological father, Noah Louis Robinson, a former professional boxer and prominent figure in the black community, was married to another woman when Jesse was born. He was not involved in Jesse's life. When he was two, his mother married Charles Henry Jackson who would adopt Jesse 14 years later. Jesse took on the surname of his step father. (2)
Early in life, Jesse demonstrated the leadership skills that would bring him to a position of national prominence and to some an American hero. He was a recognized leader and athlete in high school. While he was in college at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, he served as a director of civil rights movement in Greenville. After graduating, he worked as the southeastern field representative for the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE). Jackson attended the Chicago Theological Seminary with the intent of becoming a minister, but dropped out in 1966 to focus full-time on the civil right movement. He would be ordained in 1968, without a theological degree, and was awarded an honorary theological doctorate from Chicago in 1990. In 1966, he was appointed by Martin Luther King, Jr., to be national director of Operation Breadbasket, the economic branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference(SCLC). (3)
Recognizing that blacks often did not assert...