The Crusader Newspaper Group

Rev. Jackson makes trip down memory lane about his mentor, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Chinta Strausberg

If Dr. King were alive today, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Thursday said his mentor would be leading a massive social action demonstration not just for social justice including talking to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is one of two key Democrats blocking two voting rights bills, but pushing passage of two voting rights bills being held hostage in the Senate.

Dr. King, he said, would be calling for direct action like having a big rally in West Virginia with Willie Nelson supplying the music in an area where he said many people live in the hills and are very poor. Dr. King, Rev. Jackson said, “Would save the country.”

When asked what keeps him going, Rev. Jackson said, “My call from God, my will to see a change and hope keeps me going.”

Rev. Jackson’s remarks come just four days before Dr. King’s 93rd birthday. Rev. Jackson is celebrating Dr. King both Saturday, January 15th, which is Dr. King’s actual birthdate, 10 a.m. The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) broadcast will be broadcasted live on the RPC Facebook and YouTube pages, and at 6:30 p.m., Monday, January 17th, on ABC/WMAQ-TV where a documentary on PUSH Excel, the educational arm of the RPC.

Saturday, Rev. Jackson will talk about Resurrection City, the brainchild of Dr. King in early December 1967. It would be Dr. King’s last social justice campaign, the Poor People’s Campaign.

At that time, he told the media, “This will be no mere one-day march in Washington, but a trek to the nation’s capital by suffering and outraged citizens who will go to stay until some definite and positive active is taken to provide jobs and income for the poor.” It was three years after President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. At that time, according to the Smithsonian Magazine, 19 percent of Americans, an estimated 35 million, lived below the poverty level.

On May 22, 1968, it was Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leader Ralph Abernathy who introduced Rev. Jackson as the manager of Resurrection City which was located near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. where most of the supporters in the Poor Peoples’ Campaign had set up tents. Rev. Jackson became “mayor” of Resurrection City which was held from May 21, 1968 to June 24, 1968. The camp was later cleared.

On Saturday, January 15th during the 10 a.m. RPC broadcast, Rev. Jackson will also talk about his working on ending homelessness in Chicago –an extension of Dr. King’s unfinished business. Rev. Jackson wants to eliminate the many Tent Cities that exist in Chicago where the homeless reside. He will also talk about how the Poor Peoples’ Campaign germinated.

Rev. Jackson will talk about Dr. King’s last birthday before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Rev. Jackson was there along with Allard Lowenstein and staff members Andy Young, Hosea Williams, Dorothy Cotton, James Bevel, James Orange and many others.

1 19 Martin Luther King ftr 1

In an interview with the New York Times, Rev. Jackson said Dr. King spent his 39th birthday working. “I remember him coming to the basement of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. He walked in that day around 9 a.m., after breakfast with his family, wearing blue jeans and a windbreaker.” Rev. Jackson said it was a bright and sunny day.

Dr. King convened the Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff and a “rainbow coalition…blacks from the Deep South, whites from Appalachia, Jewish allies from New York, Latino farm worker organizers to play what would be his last campaign, the Poor People’s March to the nation’s capital.”

Rev. Jackson recalled how Dr. King “had met with increasing hostility from the press and government, but his mood was upbeat because we were energized by the vision of a new initiative to advance our movement.”

It was around noon when Xernona Clayton, a friend of the King family, came in bearing a birthday cake. “She teased Dr. King, saying that he was ‘so busy you forgot to celebrate your own birthday.’”

Rev. Jackson said Dr. King was “slightly embarrassed” but he blew out the candles. “We must have eaten the cake in record time because it seemed that within moments the plates were cleared and we were back in our meeting with Al Lowenstein conducting a workshop about the march and how to step up pressure to end the Vietnam War.”

“That is the model we should follow this week and beyond,” Rev. Jackson told the New York Times. “We should celebrate the election of our new president. And then we should get back to work to complete the unfinished business of making America a more perfect union.”

At 6:30 p.m. on ABC/WMAQ, Monday, January 17th, the unveiling of the 47-year historic history of PUSH Excel which is the educational arm of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition both founded by Rev. Jackson, will air.

For 2022 and beyond, Rev. Jackson said his goal is to turn Dr. King’s missions into actions. He won’t stop fighting for social justice until his mentor’s agenda is finished.

Recent News

Scroll to Top