Reverend Jesse Jackson (b. 1941) is a politician, civil rights activist, and Baptist minister. In 1984, Jackson became the second African-American to declare candidacy for the office of President of the United States, following Shirley Chisholm; he ran again in 1988, and in both cases, failed to secure the Democratic party nomination.
Jackson appeared on Sesame Street in 1971, on Episode 0402. He recited three of his poems I Am - Somebody, "I Can Do", and "Nation Time". Of them, only the first clip is known to survive. The clip appears as a bonus segment Old School: Volume 1.
Reverend Jackson promoted the Chicago stop of the Sesame Street cast tour, December 23, 1970, in his syndicated column "The Country Preacher."
“Children shouldn't miss this as it is one of the most creative and innovative education forms in mass media today. What out to make you happy is that black people are involved from the outset. They are everything from production editors and writers to actors and the message of Sesame Street is that CHILDREN don't live in a little lily white world but on streets and in real neighborhoods, in cities as well as suburbs that all types of people are involved in making real.”
He liked the performance, beginning his first column of 1971 by noting, in all caps, "LET ME BEGIN BY THANKING THE CAST OF SESAME STREET... you were BEAUTIFUL LAST WEDNESDAY."
In 1971, Jackson founded Operation PUSH, which stood for People United to Save Humanity. Its initial membership list included Apollo Theatre manager Peter Long, and his wife Loretta Long. The organization is now known as Rainbow/PUSH.