Jesse Jackson Honored in France

The civil rights activist was given one of the French’s highest distinctions, Legion d’Honneur

Black History

George Floyd Memorial The Rev. Jesse Jackson talks with others in at North Central University Thursday, June 4, 2020, before a memorial service for George Floyd in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
By: Tadi Abedje

He was decorated as commander in the Legion of Honor from French President Emmanuel Macron. 

“We are here today to honor a great friend of France, of our republic, someone highly appreciated and very popular in our country. He is a visionary with a talent for uniting and leading people with moral and physical courage, which has helped him to overcome adversity and to change the destiny of the United States, our oldest ally, and to change our world for the better,” said Macron in the ceremony at the Elysee Palace. 

This accomplishment highlights all the work that Jackson has done in relation to international equality. His journey began in South Carolina during the days of Jim Crow segregation. Then, Jackson attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. 

He would join the historic civil rights movement along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the 1960s with the goal to end racial discrimination. During that time, Jackson became an ordained minister and later earned a Master of Divinity degree in 2000 from Chicago Theological Seminary. 

The civil rights activist would turn his activism into a career in politics, as he became the first major African American leader to run for the U.S. presidency in 1984, aside from lesser-known Black leaders. However, he didn’t win the Democratic nomination in 1984 and 1988. 

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Jackson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Bill Clinton in 2000. The 79-year-old has been battling Parkinson’s disease since 2017.