Civil Rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson becomes Honorary Fellow at Homerton

"We want our students and researchers to believe that they, like Reverend Jackson, can change our world."

By Laura Kenworthy 1min read

On Tuesday, 14 December, Reverend Jesse Jackson was sworn in as an Honorary Fellow of Homerton College, Cambridge.

A lifelong civil rights campaigner, who worked for Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s, Reverend Jackson founded Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in 1971, and the National Rainbow Coalition in 1984. The two operations merged in 1996, becoming the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), which today is an international human and civil rights organisation, working to empower people through grassroots advocacy.

Born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1941, he was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1968. He stood as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 1984 and 1988 and gave speeches which cemented his reputation as a powerful and passionate orator.

Jesse Jackson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 2000, and this year the French President Emmanuel Macron awarded him the Légion D’Honneur.

Lord Woolley, Principal of Homerton, said:

"This, no doubt, will be one of my greatest professional honours, to induct civil rights icon, Reverend Jesse Jackson to Homerton College as an Honorary Fellow. For more than 60 years Reverend Jackson has been at the forefront in the struggle for social and racial justice, not just in the US, but across the world. This Honorary Fellowship sounds out a clear statement of intent: as a College we’re ambitious, and we want our students and researchers to believe that they, like Reverend Jackson, can change our world.”