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Jesse Jackson 123 stoop.jpg

Jon Stone confers with Jackson.

"I Am - Somebody" is a poem recited by Reverend Jesse Jackson on Sesame Street in 1972 (First: Episode 0402).

The poem emphasizes the individuality and significance of all people, regardless of size, appearance, race, or economic status. The scene took place on the stoop of 123 Sesame Street, involving a large group of children, who joined in on the "I am somebody" portions together. The full text was included in the book Sesame Street Unpaved.

The poem was also featured in Episode 0611, as performed by Jimmy Collier in response to Big Bird feeling different from everybody. Collier leads the cast in a truncated version of Jackson's oration before sequing into a song about a couple who has made their way in the world, using "I Am Somebody" as the chorus.

Jackson performed the poem for audiences as early as 1963,[1] and continued using it after forming Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in the early 1970s.[2]

In 1991, when Dr. Seuss died, Saturday Night Live alluded to the the poem by having Jackson recite "Green Eggs and Ham" in the same oratative fashion with which he performs "I Am - Somebody."

The phrase has become so much of a calling card for Jackson that he yells it in a cameo in the movie Undercover Brother.


  • A Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School sketch about "Great People" emphasizes kids realizing the greatness in oneself. Written just months after the first broadcast of the Jackson poem, it features the phrase "I Am Somebody" written in chalk on the blackboard.




  1. ↑ YouTube video by
  2. ↑ Houghton Mifflin The Reader's Companion to American History by Clayborne Carson
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