Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson asks, 'How Are We Living the Legacy?'

Topics: Speakers, College of Communication Information and Media, Emerging Media, Miller College of Business

January 26, 2010

Blake_195.jpg
Blake Mycoskie
Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and twice a Democratic contender for president of the United States, will consider the nation's progress toward fulfilling the ideals of the civil rights movement during a Black History Month appearance at Ball State University on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

His address, "How Are We Living the Legacy?" is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Emens Auditorium on campus and is free and open to the public.

Jackson's participation in the Democratic presidential primaries in 1983-84 and 1987-88 were the most successful bids for president by an African-American candidate prior to President Barack Obama's general election victory in 2008. At the party's 1988 nominating convention in Atlanta, he finished second in the balloting to eventual nominee Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts. A move by delegates to place him on the ticket as the party's vice presidential candidate by virtue of his runnerup finish was short-circuited when Dukakis tapped Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas to be his running mate.

For many political observers and historians, it is Jackson's two floor speeches that remain the defining moments of each convention. His stirring 1984 keynote address calling for party unity is noted especially for having started after 11 p.m. on the East Coast (owing in large part to the convention's location that year in San Francisco). Still, by the time Jackson was finished, an astounding 33 million television viewers nationwide had tuned in to watch.

"If you are a human being and weren't affected by what you just heard, you may be beyond redemption," declared then-Florida Gov. Bob Graham, who followed Jackson to the podium.

Four years later and once more taking the stage near 11 p.m., Jackson again mesmerized a national television audience with a more personal reflection touching on his upbringing in poverty and the ongoing challenges faced by the socially and economically disadvantaged in America. Written as "Common Ground and Common Sense," the text has become better known as the second-generation civil rights leader's own "Dream" speech, for its line urging young Americans, whatever their circumstances, never to surrender or submerge their aspirations but rather "dream of things as they ought to be."

International attention and acclaim

A young confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., Jackson directed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's (SCLC) Operation Breadbasket, dedicated to improving economic conditions in black communities across the country, during the 1960s. It was his association with the program that led the Greenville, S.C., native to relocate to Chicago, where he now is the well-known founder, in 1971, of Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) and, in 1984, of the National Rainbow Coalition. The two organizations promoting black self-help as well as equal rights for African-Americans, women, and gays and lesbians, were merged in 1996.

In addition to his ecclesiastical and political careers, Jackson also gained international attention and acclaim with several diplomatic initiatives in the '80s and '90s, securing the release of downed Navy flier Robert Goodman from Syria in 1984 and of U.S. soldiers held hostage in Kosovo in 1999. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and Asia as a champion for peace and in 2000 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton.

Jackson is a graduate of the predominantly black Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina in Greensboro with a bachelor's degree in sociology. He did his graduate work at the Chicago Theological Seminary and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968.

Today, Jackson resides in Washington, D.C., where his son, Jesse Jackson Jr., is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois.

The elder Jackson is the author of two books, "Keep Hope Alive" (South End Press, 1989) and "Straight From the Heart" (Fortress Press, 1987). With his son, he's also the co-author of "Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice and the Death Penalty" (Marlowe & Co., 1996) and "It's About the Money" (Random House, 1999).

Letterman Lectures

Following Jackson, veteran broadcast journalist Ted Koppel will be the next guest of the David Letterman Distinguished Professional Lecture and Workshop Series at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Pruis Hall.

Other speakers in the series this semester include global communications consultant Stuart Brotman and Stacey Halota vice president of information security and privacy at The Washington Post Co.

Brotman is founder and president of Stuart N. Brotman Communications, a Massachusetts-based global management consultancy serving a long list of Fortune 500 clients worldwide on issues involving communications, information, entertainment and the Internet.

During the Carter administration, he served as special assistant to the president and chief of staff at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in Washington, DC, acting as a liaison to the White House, Congress, the FCC, the FTC, the Department of Justice and other government agencies as well as private industry, academic and research organizations, the legal community and the press.

He later became the first person ever appointed to the Harvard Law School faculty to teach telecommunications and its first research fellow in entertainment and media law. He also served as the first concurrent fellow in digital media at Harvard and MIT.

Now a 2009-10 Emerging Media Faculty Fellow at Ball State, Brotman will discuss "Can Broadband Save the World?" at 7:30 p.m. March 24 in the Art and Journalism Building (AJ), Room 175.

Halota, meanwhile, will present "Privacy, Please!" at 7:30 p.m. April 15 in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building, Room 125.

She has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology, security and privacy field, having served in several technical risk management positions with the federal government, Guardent Consulting Services (now part of Verisign) and PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining The Washington Post Co., where as chief security officer she directs the development and implementation of information and security programs assuring compliance with Sarbanes Oxley regulations and other privacy laws as well as the protection of company records and data.

Halota will examine how in today's digital age personal information is collected and used by assorted parties for various purposes. She'll consider the personal, professional and business risks involved and offer some insight on safety measures.

Shoes and the Supreme Court

On March 17, Ball State welcomes Blake Mycoskie, founder and "chief shoe giver" of Toms Shoes Inc., for a 7 p.m. presentation in Pruis Hall on "The New Rules for Tomorrow's Business: A Student's Guide to Making a Difference in the World."

Mycoskie started Toms Shoes in 2006 after a visit to Argentina, where he noticed many children in poorer neighborhoods going without shoes, thus making them more susceptible to the disease podoconiosis that enters the body through the soles of the feet and can eventually destroy the lymphatic system.

To combat the problem, Mycoskie determined that for every pair of new shoes it sells, Toms will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need somewhere in the world. And in just three years, conscientious consumers have been encouraged to purchase and thereby give 140,000 pairs of new shoes for needy kids.

Inspired, inspiring and above all practical, Mycoskie presents a new direction for international corporations and commerce with Toms' "doing well by doing good" ethos and successful "One for One" business model.

Concluding this year's list of invited speakers on March 22 will be Sarah Weddington, believed to be the youngest person ever to win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court — a distinction she acquired after arguing successfully, in 1973 at age 26, that a woman's right to choose an abortion is based upon the constitutional right to privacy. Today, the case of Roe v. Wade remains among the most controversial in the annals of American jurisprudence, earning a place in 2003 among Time magazine's "80 Days That Changed the World."

Formerly an assistant to President Jimmy Carter, directing his administration's work on women's issues and leadership outreach, Weddington now is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas in Austin, where her classes Gender-Based Discrimination and Leadership in America are helping to shape the critical thinking of a new generation of leaders, particularly young women.

Note: Weddington's presentation, "Some Leaders Are Born Women," will be conducted live via videoconference from the University of Texas at Austin beginning at 7 p.m. in Pruis Hall.


 

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