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Jesse Jackson ran as a candidate of the Democratic Party in 1984 and was the first African-American male to do so. He lost the nomination to former Vice President Walter F. Mondale and finished third in the tally, receiving over 18 percent of the votes and surprising pundits nationwide.  

Jackson was born Jesse Louis Burns in Greenville, SC in 1941. He was adopted by his mother's husband when he was one-year-old and took his step-father's surname. Jackson graduated from a historically black university, North Carolina A&T, in 1964 and attended Chicago Theological Seminary. Rather than completing his degree there, he chose to work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). SCLC was the civil rights organization led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1966, King personally selected Jackson to head the organization's Chicago branch. After a falling out with SCLC administration, Jackson created People United to Save Humanity (PUSH). PUSH focused on political activism and aimed to place political pressure on elected officials regarding civil rights issues. Jackson resigned as president of PUSH in 1984 in order to focus on his presidential campaign. During the campaign, Jackson formed the National Rainbow Coalition, which merged with PUSH in 1996.


Kornacki, S. (2019, July 29). 1984: Jesse Jackson's run for the White House and the rise of the Black voter. NBC News.…

Smothers, R. (1984, March 4). The impact of Jesse Jackson. New York Times.…

Catalog ID PO0816