Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. While an undergraduate Jackson became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1965, he went to Selma, Alabama to march with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 1980s he became a leading national spokesman for African-Americans. After being appointed special envoy to Africa, he was awarded the 2000 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He is the founder of the organizations that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. is his eldest son. Jackson was also the host of Both Sides with Jesse Jackson on CNN from 1992 to 2000.