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Friday's Connector: Jesse Jackson

March 10th, 2010
02:15 PM ET

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been one of the most influential civil rights leaders in the United States for nearly five decades and he continues to be a big influence in black politics.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/10/jackson.blog.jpg
caption="Jesse Jackson takes your questions"]

Jackson started his activism alongside the late Martin Luther King, participating in the Salem to Montgomery marches in 1965.

After King's death in 1968, Jackson continued his prominent role in the civil rights movement in the U.S. and subsequently helped create the Rainbow Coalition which later merged with the Push Operation.

Both organizations were founded on the beliefs of civil rights and political activism.

In 1984, Jackson became the second African American to mount a campaign for the Presidency of the United States as a Democrat.

Although he failed to be a serious contender, Jackson still managed to get 21 per cent of the popular vote during the primary season.

Jackson decided to run four years later and was considered to be a far more credible candidate. He went on to capture 6.9 million votes and win 11 primary battles in states like Georgia and Virginia.

The Baptist minister never won the candidacy of the Democratic party to run as president, but he still maintains an influential position within the party and the country decades later.

Here's your chance to ask Jesse Jackson a question.

Do you want to know what he thinks of Barack Obama? Maybe you want his views on race relations in 2010?

Please post your questions and comments below and also tell us where you're writing from so we can include that in the show.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Jesse Louis Jackson and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Jesse Louis Jackson to the following questions:
    – What are you doing to bring More Unification between the Black Community and the other Communities in United States of America and the rest of the world?
    – How can we Help to Stop AIDS in the Black Community?
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the Black Community have the Highest AIDS rate in the United States of America!
    – How can we Stop the High Abortion Rate in the Black Community?
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the Black Community have the Highest Abortion rate in the United States of America?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Jesse Louis Jackson’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    March 10, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  2. I.B.Alhassan.

    My frank and candid view to Rev. Jacson is to distance himself from active involment in U.S politics. The terrin does fit him as a person with Distinguished Association with the like of King. Were King to be alive, he will least think of being a U.S President as a principle civil right activist. From, Abuja-Nigeria.

    March 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  3. Louise


    What is your best life memory, most proudest, most memorable occurance, most poignant or defining moment of your life? (choose one).

    March 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Reply
  4. VocalBillity - the Voice of Bill Elliott

    Greetings, Mr Jackson!

    Will you please consider the Lord's work in your life and return to the core of your ministry through preaching and teaching His word? The political gains you have made are well establish and there is certainly more to do, but I am asking you to consider the spiritual rights of souls in our world today.

    You are no stranger to fighting the fight and working for the human rights (physical rights) of others, and while they are very commendable, they are quite temporal, as I am sure you know. My hope, prayer, and request of you is that you segway the latter portion of your life to a closer focus on the spiritual rights and needs of those around you; getting back to the pulpit of your initiall calling. Granted, I do not know you personally, nor have I had any exposure to any of your daily routine, so you may well be working spiritual works amongst those around you already. My hope is that you formally return to the Reverend portion of your life and help lead our cities, our states, our nations, and certainly our world to a closer and 'equal rights' life with the Lord!

    Bill Elliott
    The Voice of one crying in the Bewilderment

    March 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  5. Jay Gannon

    Mr Jackson,
    Being an influential figure in the civil rights movement you understand the struggle of a minority to gain acceptance. Do you see paralells between the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement. How do you feel they can gain greater acceptance, recognition, and freedom from persecution in world society today?

    Jay Gannon

    March 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  6. Tom

    What do you think of Obama after 1 year as President?

    March 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  7. Marcel Dubois

    Are gays the new blacks in America? I mean, are gays on the verge of become accepted, get equal rights or what does Mr. Jackson think gays need to do to get recognized as equal civilians?

    March 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  8. Natasha Thompson

    Do you maintain any relationship with your illegitimate daughter Ashley?

    Where does she live now, and did her mother ever marry?

    I think of her from time to time when I see you on television.

    Tampa, Florida

    March 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  9. Bobby

    What role do you feel civil rights organizations have in changing U.S. relations with the rest of the world? Do you think that we need to get our own house in order prior to calling for reform abroad or do you think there we can be a flawed messenger for democracy?

    March 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  10. Bobby G.

    What stance do you think civil rights and workers rights activists should take toward the global financial and trade system? Globalization seems to have left some communities behind, do you think that this issue calls for reevaluating America's open economy?

    March 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  11. Anthony

    Mr Jackson,

    What are you thoughts on the effectiveness of affirmative action in the present day? I have often thought about the positive aspects of this policy but recently have begun to realize that there are some negative ones as well. Do you think that considering the demographics of our country as they are today it would be fair to say that everybody can identify as being part of a minority and, if that is true, that affirmative action has outlived its usefulness? What about a situation where a fully qualified black professional faces discrimination because colleagues assume that they have had such great success merely as a result of this policy and not because of hard work or determination?

    Thanks very much for your time and consideration,

    Philadelphia, PA

    March 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  12. John Dinwiddie

    I have to say that of all the civil rights leaders, you are the one I
    find most unsettling. I sense a lot about you that is sincere, but
    also a lot that appears to be grandstanding.

    Many years ago I was at the Port Chicago protest where one
    brave man lost his legs when a switch engine declined to stop
    where was laying.

    You also were there, but you arrived in a white stretch limousine.
    Needless to say, you were noticed. Perhaps this is just a trade off
    for necessary publicity, but the trade off was the turn off that the
    impression made on many of us who were 50 feet from a cordon
    of cops and in real danger of being arrested or worse.

    My question: are the many ways that you draw attention to yourself
    necessary to the important causes that you champion? There is,
    again, a price, and in my case, it is that I do not trust you.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  13. Kimo

    Dear Reverend Jackson,

    You have spent a lifetime trying to improve the situation of African-Americans and building harmonious relations between all people in America.

    I would like to direct question more to international issues.

    I am sure you have followed the situations going on in Africa at the moment:

    – Political turmoil in Zimbabwe between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

    – The religious violence between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria

    – The Darfur crisis in Sudan

    All of these situations are capable of destabilizing the continent.

    From the perspective as a mediator, how would you go about handling these crisis? If the Obama administration were to call on you to take a more active role in African affairs, as an envoy, would you accept?

    Many thanks.

    Canterbury, England

    March 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  14. John Dinwiddie

    It occurred to me a few minutes after I wrote that perhaps one
    reason that we were not arrested was because you were there,
    in a white stretch limousine that was also noted by the authorities
    in charge of those cops.

    Maybe I should be thanking you instead of holding out for a perfect
    world. Whatever, to me you are one curious fellow.

    Oh, yes, thank you if that was what your appearance was really
    about, its costuming. I do mean that. Jails are no fun at all.

    March 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  15. A.P.D.

    Please clarify if you are a civil rights leader or a black civil rights leader, as you only appear to have interests in black civil rights.

    March 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  16. Keira

    Greetings from the Big Apple:

    My question is: what do you think it's missing in today's society that makes it difficult for some to accept ALL minorities into the mainstream? Is it lack of education? Old habits/customs? Plain ignorance? All of the above?

    Why, after everything that's happened to this world, can't we get along?

    March 12, 2010 at 12:44 am | Reply
  17. Felix Kisanga

    Do you think Obama has lost track when you compare what he is doing now and the promise he made during his presidential campaign? I think he has been overwhelmed by premature judgements!

    March 12, 2010 at 4:04 am | Reply
  18. peng wang

    what's your suggestions for the youngsters who is dedicated to fight for civil right!

    March 12, 2010 at 5:40 am | Reply
  19. Rob Wilson

    Hello Mr. Jackson – Neither the Democrats or the Republicans are doing the USA any favours...its ridiculous to see how they squabble like school children, also FOX news, more like entertainment tonight is Goverment run..totally Republican. How can the parties really work for the American people, rather than just thinking of themselves...American Politics looks quite shameful in the eyes of the world right now....

    March 12, 2010 at 8:43 am | Reply
  20. modester from Nigeria

    You guys are great, please keep doing what you no how to do best, encourage president Obama to carry everyone along, white, black, red or even green. I mean everyone. He should listen to the voice of minority in under-developed country like Nigeria before it will be too late. We are looking up to him.

    March 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Reply

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