News

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Talks Justice, Civic Engagement at Radcliffe Day

News

Church Says It Did Not Authorize ‘People’s Commencement’ Protest After Harvard Graduation Walkout

News

‘Welcome to the Battlefield’: Maria Ressa Talks Tech, Fascism in Harvard Commencement Address

Multimedia

In Photos: Harvard’s 373rd Commencement Exercises

News

Rabbi Zarchi Confronted Maria Ressa, Walked Off Stage Over Her Harvard Commencement Speech

Jackson Speaks at Local Church

By Adrienne C. Collatos, Crimson Staff Writer

Few Harvard students receive telephone calls because of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson at 7:30 in the morning—but that’s exactly what happened to two seniors yesterday. Alexis C. Maule ’08 and Aisha J. Dennis ’08 received a call from law professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr.’s aide, requesting they bring their laptops and come help the reverend.

Jackson, the prominent civil rights activist and two-time presidential candidate, was slated to speak at the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in Central Square as part of an annual speech organized by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, an organization at the Law School founded by Ogletree.

Maule and Dennis were scheduled to have coffee with Jackson before the speech but instead ending up helping the reverend complete his draft.

Jackson’s lecture wandered from the Iraq War to the Civil Rights Movement to Barack Obama’s political rise, devoting attention to a wide range of problems facing America.

In a press conference after the event, Jackson spoke in favor of both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, although he emphasized his support of Obama, his fellow Chicagoan, in the presidential campaign.

Jackson said Obama has “charismatic gifts that appeal to people,” adding that they are “God-given gifts that he is using well.”

Jackson said he worried about a fractured Democratic party contributing to a victory for the Republicans in November.

“I want the candidates to embrace warmly in Denver,” he said. “We all lose unless they reconcile.”

Ogletree said Jackson accepted the invitation to speak, his second appearance at the AME, because he was interested in the connection of this year’s President’s Day to the upcoming November election.

Ogletree said that Jackson wanted to link the role of Obama to other significant civil rights leaders who were instrumental in pushing for greater democracy and racial inclusion in America over the last few decades.

In his speech, Jackson made the connection between King and Obama, but Ogletree said that Jackson himself is an important part of King’s legacy.

“The fact that Senator Obama is running now is because the road was paved by Reverend Jackson,” Ogletree said.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags