The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, who rose to national prominence as a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and went on to twice wage historic bids for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s, will engage in a dialogue on leadership and co-education at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 at Lehigh’s Zoellner Arts Center.
“A Conversation with Rev. Jesse Jackson” is part of a two-day visit by the civil rights leader to the Lehigh Valley that also includes an appearance at Moravian College at noon Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Lehigh's Africana Studies Program will host the Monday evening dialogue in Zoellner’s Baker Hall. All tickets for the event were gone within four days. All seating is general admission; doors open at 6:30 p.m.The conversation will be moderated by James Peterson, director of Africana Studies, and the Rev. Grace Ji-Sun Kim of Moravian College and Seminary.
The conversation will explore leadership in the 21st Century and the significance of Lehigh University's celebration this year of 40 years of co-education. After the initial dialogue between Jackson and the moderators, members of the audience will be invited to participate by asking questions relevant to the program’s topics.
Worked with Martin Luther King Jr.
Jackson, who in 2000 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian honor—from President Bill Clinton, is founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He began his activism as a student in the summer of 1960 seeking to desegregate the local public library in Greenville, S.C., and then as a leader in the sit-in movement.
In 1965, he became a fulltime organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was soon appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to direct the Operation Breadbasket program. In 1971, Jackson founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in Chicago. The goals of Operation PUSH were economic empowerment and expanding educational, business and employment opportunities for the disadvantaged and people of color.
In 1984, Jackson founded the National Rainbow Coalition, a social justice organization based in Washington, D.C devoted to political empowerment, education and changing public policy. In 1996, the Rainbow Coalition and Operation PUSH merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue the work of both organizations and to maximize resources.
During Jackson’s two groundbreaking campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, he finished first or second in 46 of 54 primary contests and his campaign registered three million new voters.
Jackson recently celebrated his 70th birthday, and remains active around the world in movements for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s appearance at Lehigh is sponsored by: College of Arts & Sciences, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, The Humanities Center, The Chaplain's Office, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Career Services/Air Products.