Washington, Jul 16 (EFE).- Reverend Jesse Jackson, an iconic figure of the United States civil rights movement, retired on Sunday from his Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which he founded and headed for more than five decades.
His stepping down from the presidency of the rights organization took place at its annual convention in Chicago, where it is headquartered, with Vice President Kamala Harris in attendance.
Jackson, born 81 years ago in Greenville, South Carolina, has Parkinson’s disease. When he announced his illness in November 2017, he said that his “daily physical struggles [had] intensified.”
The reverend was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988.
Democratic President Joe Biden recognized Jackson’s decades of activism in a White House statement on Sunday.
“The promise of America is that we are all created equal in the image of God and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. While we’ve never fully lived up to that promise, we’ve never fully walked away from it because of extraordinary leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr.,” Biden said.
“Throughout our decades of friendship and partnership, I’ve seen how Reverend Jackson has helped lead our nation forward through tumult and triumph. Whether on the campaign trail, on the march for equality, or in the room advocating for what is right and just, I’ve seen him as history will remember him: a man of God and of the people; determined, strategic, and unafraid of the work to redeem the soul of our nation.”
Jackson’s successor was named as Reverend Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes III, 62, of the Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas.
In a coalition statement, Jackson said he was looking forward to focusing on economic and social justice issues, and mentoring.
The reverend has been a leader of America’s civil rights movement since the 1960s and founded People United to Serve Humanity (PUSH) in 1971, three years after the assassination of fellow activist and mentor Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tennessee, which he witnessed.
In 1996, PUSH and another organization he formed, Rainbow Coalition (1984), merged to form the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The group says its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights and defines itself as a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive and international organization that seeks social change. EFE