Campaigning as an unapologetic progressive, the Rev. Jesse Jackson reframed, renewed and refashioned US politics with a pair of campaigns for the Democratic presidential nominations of 1984 and 1988.

Those campaigns broke new ground in American politics, showing that it was possible to leap lines of race, gender, sexuality and class to form coalitions that had not previously been imagined possible. Jackson’s presidential runs also brought hundreds of thousands of new voters–especially young and African American voters–onto the rolls. The legacy of those campaigns, and those coalitions, formed the basis for a new politics that helped elect Barack Obama America’s first black president.

This video tells that story. As we celebrate our progress, it is vital to recall the campaigns that brought us to this place.

Peter Rothberg

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