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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leicester > Faith > Features > Rev Jackson in Leicester

Reverend Jesse Jackson

Rev Jackson in Leicester

BBC Leicester's John Florance went to meet the formidable civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson at a centre near the city. Listen to the full interview here...

Leicester played host to one of the most influential black politicians in America at the moment.

No, not Barack Obama, but a man who - arguably - beat a path that Obama was later able to build on - the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

He's on tour in Britain speaking about 60 years of the civil rights movement from Martin Luther King to the recent election of Barack Obama in the United States.

On 01 December 2008 Reverend Jackson was at the Peepul Centre to speak about the change at a conference for young people from schools, colleges and youth projects from across Leicester and Leicestershire.

BBC Leicester's John Florance interviewing Reverend Jesse Jackson in Leicester

Listen: Rev Jesse Jackson

BBC Leicester's John Florance headed down to the centre in the Belgrave area of Leicester to meet the Reverend Jackson.

John began by asking the Reverend to what extent was the election of Barack Obama an international phenomenon...

"It is now a globalised celebration - who all saw it.

"The oppressed people around the world had been reinvigorated - belief that they can make it against all odds, because the world knows about the plight of the African-American."

Young People at the Peepul Centre in Leicester

The Dream

The Reverend Jackson told his young audience that Barack Obama's presidential success in America showed that, in Britain too, Black and Asian people could also dream of leading their country.

"Two hundred and forty three years in legal slavery... The martyrs killed trying to change America for the better.

"The world has watched that struggle, so as America changes the people in Britain, in the Netherlands, in France, and around the world are saying this too can happen for us."

"Barack's world view is shaped by his world experience and that's a good thing for all of us."

Reverend Jesse Jackson

President Obama

The Reverend Jackson spoke about some of the reforms he would like to witness in Barack Obama's administration.

One being Foreign Policy - he said: "We must approach Foreign Policy with strength... not arrogance...

"We are trying to revive the World War II America... The America of the rescue, not the America of the invader.

"Barack has a keen sense of the world. My view is that President Bush saw the world through a keyhole and not through a door - he didn't see the big world.

"And Barack's world view is shaped by his world experience and that's a good thing for all of us."

Barack Obama

Economic Crisis

The Reverend Jackson also talked about other challenges President Obama has to face - the economic crisis.

"Our financial system is basically collapsing... The energy crisis, the housing crisis, the credit crisis, the manufacturing trade crisis and unemployment.

"So some profound structural economic crisis that will require real leadership.

"I think President Obama and his team brings that leadership to the table and the Congress must follow..."

BBC Leicester's John Florance and Rupal Rajani with Reverend Jesse Jackson in Leicester

"I'm Preaching!"

The political activist as always has very strong views on the current world climate, but he is the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Does he still preside services and does he still preach?

"I preached in Birmingham and Nottingham yesterday, every Sunday morning I preach. But preaching is not just limited to Sunday morning ceremonies.

"Whenever I go and visit the jails - I'm preaching. When I walk amongst the poor trying to seek support for the poor - I'm preaching. When I walk amongst our children trying to convince them not to self destruct through drugs and violence - I'm preaching.

"Often ministers limit themselves to ceremonies and we seek to bring in the substance of our faith."

"They must use the gift god has given them to make themselves and to make the nation better."

Reverend Jesse Jackson

Rev Jackson's Message

The Reverend Jackson hoped the young people of Leicester and Leicestershire can believe they can make a difference to the world.

"They must dream big, they must not drown in self doubt, they must not doubt their ability to change the country for the better.

"They must not self destruct to drugs, alcohol, violence and suicide.

"They must use the gift God has given them to make themselves and to make the nation better."

BBC Leicester's John Florance described his meeting with the Reverend Jesse Jackson as a great privilege and thought he was a charismatic and compelling individual who has made history.

last updated: 02/12/2008 at 12:16
created: 01/12/2008

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