Are we going to wait until Reverend Jesse Jackson is gone to celebrate his life and what he has done for us and America? That's the question I asked myself this past week as I remembered El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz on his birthday.
The mainstream media has done its best over the past decade or two to destroy the reputation and legacy of Jesse Jackson. It has made fun of him, it has called him a civil rights leader for hire, it has even made fun of the way he talks. And unfortunately many of us have happily jumped on the media bandwagon and attacked the reverend as well.
And yes, I know that Reverend Jackson had a child out of wedlock back in 1999. That certainly was not a good thing. But why are we so quick to attack our heroes and tear them down? Mainstream America still celebrates Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both of whom held enslaved Africans. Jefferson was even a rapist. Raping Sally Hemming for most of her life. And yet America defends both as heroes.
Jackson was also attacked prior to the 2008 Presidential election for a statement he made about then candidate Barack Obama.*
Reverend Jackson made mistakes but that should not discount his fight for our rights over the last 5 decades. Jesse Jackson stood with Martin Luther King, risking his life. And after Dr. King was gone Jesse kept fighting and he's still fighting.
Most people have stated that there could be no President Barack Obama without there being Martin Luther King. But the truth of the matter is that there could have been no President Obama had there not been Presidential candidate Jackson in the 1980's.
The list of Reverend Jackson's accomplishments, including running twice for President of the United States, are too long to list here. But it should be noted that Reverend Jackson defended and fought for civil rights all over the planet for all sorts of people. He never ran from a fight for civil rights.
So now Reverend Jackson is getting up there in years, he's 68 years-old. He won't be around forever. So I ask again; are we going to wait until Reverend Jackson is gone to remember and celebrate his life's work? Will we continue to allow attacks on him now only to pretend that we didn't after he's gone?
Reverend Jackson should be honored and revered not only in the African American communities of this country but by this country as a whole. His work has not only benefited African Americans but all Americans.
I won't wait until he's gone. Thank you Reverend Jackson for taking the risks and fighting the good fight for all of these years on our behalf. You are a true American hero.
Read about Revered Jackson's work here
*Much was made of a statement Jesse Jackson made that was caught on camera about Barack Obama and how he thought Obama condescended to African Americans. Reverend Jackson was attacked relentlessly for making that statement. But after a little time has passed many of us know that he was right, that Barack Obama the candidate and the President, is very condescending to African Americans. The President has repeatedly preached to us like we're children, that we should be responsible. Note the President never gives that be responsible speech to anyone other than African Americans.