July 13th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Jesse Jackson Jr.'s life shaped by history

By Alan Duke, CNN

(CNN) - Jesse Jackson Jr. grew up in his father's shadow, placing him on history's stage as the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. led civil rights campaigns, including Operation PUSH and the Rainbow Coalition.

Jackson was born in 1965, just months before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, which forced election changes that opened up the political process for African-Americans in the United States.

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He spent his 21st birthday in a District of Columbia jail cell after being arrested in an anti-apartheid protest at the South African Embassy in 1986, according to the biography on his congressional website.

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He was on the stage in Cape Town in 1990 when Nelson Mandela delivered his historic speech after his release from 27 years in a South African prison, the biography says.

The younger Jackson earned a Master of Arts degree in theology and then a law degree in 1993.

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Filed under: Black in America • History • Politics • Who we are
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Hamsta

    These " civil rights leaders " aren't elected, they are egotisical self appointed race baiters.

    July 14, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mows

    Mental illness is a disqualification for an elected official, famous dad or not.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |