chapter  4
18 Pages

Like Father, Like Son? Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Tenure as aU.S


If Jesse Jackson Jr. enjoys the benefi ts of his name, he has also had to endure the challenges of bearing that name. As the son of a famous and controversial American civil rights leader, Jackson parlayed his family’s prominence in Chicago to win a special election to Congress in 1995. As one of the fi rst Blacks of the post-Civil Rights generation to win election to a federal offi ce, Jackson Jr. was in a unique position to be able to use his youthful perspective and the values he learned at home to help set a national policy agenda for Blacks and non-Blacks alike. As an emerging leader, he could articulate the concerns of a new generation of Americans with a diff erent perspective. However, as someone who literally grew up in shadow of the Civil Rights Movement, he might also be able to reframe old civil rights issues and articulate them for the modern era, earning the respect of his forebears in both the activist and legislative communities.