Jesse Jackson's Successor Exits Civil Rights Organization

He'd taken over leadership of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, founded by Jackson in 1971
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2023 5:10 PM CDT
Updated Apr 17, 2024 3:00 AM CDT
Jackson to Step Down From Civil Rights Organization
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, president and CEO of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, speaks at a news conference in New York in 1997.   (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler, File)
UPDATE Apr 17, 2024 3:00 AM CDT

The successor to the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the civil rights leader's Rainbow PUSH Coalition is stepping down from the organization after less than three months. The Rev. Frederick Haynes III, a Dallas pastor, tells the AP he submitted his resignation Tuesday. "I remain committed to honoring the rich history of RPC and the legacy of its esteemed leader, the incomparable Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr., and most significantly, to the calling and pursuit of social justice," he says in a statement obtained by NBC DFW. "I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who have expressed their support since my appointment in July of last year. Rest assured that my work in the fight for liberation and freedom continues." He'd been officially installed in the position in February.

Jul 14, 2023 5:10 PM CDT

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a civil rights leader in his own right for more than 60 years, announced Friday that he's retiring as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson, 81, told the news to volunteers for the coalition's convention, WLS reports. He plans an official announcement Sunday at the Chicago convention, whose keynote speaker will be Vice President Kamala Harris. A successor will be named at the same time, per Politico; a date for the changeover was not provided.

Jackson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2017. "He's had physical challenges, but he never stopped fighting," said his son, US Rep. Jonathan Jackson. His father marched in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 after the "Bloody Sunday" violence. He was an aide to King and led protests to desegregate restaurants and theaters. As recently as fall 2020, Jackson was at the front of a march in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in protest of the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two men and injured a third during civil unrest there. He was with George Floyd's family at a memorial the same year. Jackson has remained involved in national politics; last month, Jackson attended an economic address by President Biden in Chicago.

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Jackson founded People United to Save Humanity in 1971 on the South Side of Chicago. It later was renamed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, per NPR, and worked on such goals as encouraging companies to hire more minorities and increasing voter registration. Jackson has been "one of the most productive, prophetic and dominant figures in the struggle for social justice in American history," the Rev. Al Sharpton posted online, per USA Today. "He didn't give up when there were forces against the Voting Rights Act, or forces against the Equal Rights Amendment or addressing priorities at home or peace abroad," his son said Friday. (More Jesse Jackson stories.)

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