On Friday, October 21st, Atlanta will join the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Peachtree Street Project as it celebrates the 75th birthday of its founder and president, Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.
The celebration for the international human rights icon and two-time presidential candidate will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Festivities will begin with a Hope Carpet at 6pm and Gala at 7pm.
Nathaniel R. Goldston, III
Tricia “CK” Hoffler
Helen Smith Price
Honorable Leroy Johnson
Alicia M Ivey
President, Goldbergs Concessions Coporation
Chief Executive Officer, S.L. Gresham Company
About Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr.
Rev. Jackson’s is a quintessential American story of overcoming the odds – and of keeping hope alive. He was born on Oct. 8, 1941 to an unwed, teenage mother on the struggling side of Greenville, South Carolina. Rigid, soul-smothering segregation was the law of the land – a law that was often enforced at the end of a lynching rope.
Rev. Jackson’s mother and grandmother taught him from an early age that “excellence was a weapon” against the humiliations, pains and perils of racism. As a little black boy, growing up behind the Cotton Curtain, it was the only weapon he had and he wielded it with skill and grit in the classrooms of his segregated schools and on the athletic fields. Near the top of his high school class, he attended the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. He played quarterback. He transferred to North Carolina A & T where he starred on the gridiron and graduated in 1964 with a degree in sociology and found the rock of his life, his wife Jacqueline.
It was the pursuit of excellence – and equality – that got Rev. Jackson arrested for the first time. In 1960, when he was 19 years old, Rev. Jackson and seven classmates were hauled off to the local Greenville jail for trying to borrow books from a public library. In the South of his youth, even the library stacks were segregated.
“After that arrest I lost my fear of jail,” Rev. Jackson said. “I lost my fear of resisting the evils of American apartheid. In a sense, I was born again.”
A civil rights activist and leader throughout his college years, Rev. Jackson attended graduate school at Chicago Theological Seminary on a scholarship. He dropped out in 1966 just short of his Master of Divinity Degree to work fulltime in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (In 2000, Rev. Jackson was awarded his masters on the basis of “his body of work” in Christian mission and service.)
In 1966, Dr. King appointed Rev. Jackson to head Operation Breadbasket, the economic arm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC. It was the beginning of Rev. Jackson’s climb to national leadership and international prominence.
Over the next 50 years, he led sweeping voter registration drives through the South and marched with Midwest farmers facing foreclosures and inner city families facing evictions. He spoke out against war and stood up for peace. He locked arms with displaced factory workers and fasted and prayed with Latino farm workers. He fought to free Nelson Mandela and elect Mayor Harold Washington. He traveled the world, negotiating the freedom of hostages in Syria, Cuba, Iraq and Africa. His two history-making, rules-changing presidential campaigns in 1984 and 988 helped clear the path to the White House 20 years later for Barack Obama.
Today, with three-quarters of a century under his belt, Rev. Jackson continues to criss-cross the country, fighting for racial justice, inclusion and equality from the auto plants and corporate offices of Detroit to the concert canyons of Wall Street to the high tech valleys of California.
“We’ve never stopped doing the work of Dr. King,” Rev. Jackson said. “All I want for my birthday is for people to register to vote and then turn out in massive numbers on Nov. 8.”
$100.00 dollars per person in advance; $125 at the door.