Rev. Jesse Jackson’s daughter reflects on his political, civil rights legacy on 80th birthday

Santita Jackson, the eldest daughter of Jackson, informed TheGrio that she never witnessed the convergence of those two significant positions – the “father” she is familiar with and the globally acknowledged “establishment” of Jesse Jackson.

Jesse Jackson
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

“Dr. King served as the designer and [Jesse Jackson] fulfilled the role of the constructor,” as Sanitia points out, the reverend’s involvement in the public sphere began as an activist for civil rights.

After running his own office for decades, Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States, did not know that his decision to eventually run for president and adopt Chicago as his home would intertwine with his legacy. He settled in the midwestern city of Chicago and then traveled to South Carolina, where he was born and where Jesse Jackson also traveled.

However, regardless of the location where Jackson rested, he gathered power and motivated African American political figures throughout the nation.

According to Santita, Jackson was the first person ever to get detailed secret service because of the unique nature of his political run.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson stops to talk to the news media on the floor of the FleetCenter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention July 27, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Santita Jackson, in her conversation with TheGrio, elaborated, “The establishment has truly played a significant role in achieving a just war and a more harmonious society. It is not merely about a Black person attaining the presidency, but rather the work he has undertaken and his presidential campaign.”

During the earliest years of his career, Jesse Jackson played an instrumental role in bringing Americans held hostage in other countries back to the United States, uniting the soil states.

In rural and underprivileged communities, Clinton collaborated with Jackson to promote national progress by granting internet access. Jackson, who had also been acknowledged by then-President Bill Clinton as the mastermind behind closing the digital gap in the 1990s, worked alongside Clinton.

Amidst the Monica Lewinsky controversy, she would summon him to the White House. It is rumored that Jesse Jackson forged a close bond with President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, and became her trusted confidant. Moreover, Jesse Jackson not only offered guidance to President Clinton, but also provided counsel.

Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist and author of TheGrio, spoke with Reverend Jackson on his 80th birthday, considering him to be one of the long line of people who their political father is.

Jesse Jackson (C) and CNN commentator Donna Brazile (R) attend the Vice Presidential Debate between Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence at Longwood University on October 4, 2016 in Farmville, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Brazile emphasized, “We could not have witnessed such profound historic moments like the election of President Barack Obama, as well as others including Mayor Dave Dinkins of New York City and Governor Doug Wilder of Virginia, without the courageous and bold leadership of Rev. Jesse Jackson. His inspired fight for equal justice under the law and civil voting rights continues to inspire a new generation, knocking down barriers.”

The influence of Jackson continues in grassroots advocacy and electoral politics on this day, when black voters had the opportunity to vote and register, breaking down barriers. Income inequality and police reform are among the issues being addressed.

During the 1980s, Santita Jackson remembers a Gallup survey in which her father was regarded as one of the top three most respected individuals globally. She emphasized that her dad had a longer lifespan compared to Malcolm, Martin, and Medgar, whom he used to stand alongside, among those mentioned in the ranking.

“I feel extremely blessed,” Jackson acknowledged, “God has granted him such a significant amount of time.”