Legacy Rev. Jesse Jackson leaves behind after stepping down as head of Rainbow PUSH

Dallas pastor Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes III succeeds Jackson as leader of Rainbow PUSH

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson is pivoting from his role as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which got its start in 1971.

In the decades since, he's fought for social justice, economic empowerment, educational and employment opportunities for people of color and those who are disadvantaged.

Jackson ran for U.S. president twice and on the world stage he made diplomatic missions overseas.

Dr. Hermene Hartman is the founder of N'Digo and worked with Jackson during his time at Operation Breadbasket, which preceded the Rainbow Push Coalition.

Operation Breadbasket was the economic arm of Dr. Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Our Chicago Part 1

Our Chicago is taking a look at Jesse Jackson's legacy.

"Breadbasket was the assignment actually, that Dr. King gave Rev. Jackson while he was still a student. It was to empower and to better Black businesses and consumerism," Hartman said.

Under the auspice of Operation Breadbasket was the Black Expo. Dr. Hartman was the chair of the cultural department of the Black Expo, which was held at the National Amphitheatre in 1971.

"It was education, it was entertainment, it was business and it was culture," said Hartman. "And to this date, no organization in America has surpassed the success of that event."

SEE ALSO: Rev. Jesse Jackson to step down as head of Rainbow PUSH

The man charged with carrying on Rev. Jackson's legacy is Dr. Frederick Haynes II.

He's also the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, a role he's held for 40 years.

Haynes said he's still processing the idea of taking on this new role.

Our Chicago Part 2

Our Chicago is taking a look at Jesse Jackson's legacy.

"Rev. Jackson is without question one of my personal heroes," said Haynes. "The very idea of succeeding such a gigantic heroic figure is something I never would have dreamt of."

Haynes said his vision for Rainbow Push remains the same.

"Rev. Jackson has laid such a profound and needed foundation that it has provided me a blueprint for moving forward," said Haynes.

Haynes said the nation still faces income inequality.

"We want to make sure that small businesses have access to procurement opportunities," he said. "That's a part of our economic vision going forward."

Also on his agenda is climate change.

"Our planet is experiencing a slow burn. It is on fire because of climate change, and so Rainbow PUSH is going to be at the head of fighting this climate change but specifically targeting environmental justice," Haynes said.