CHICAGO — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 93 years old on Friday as a nation remembers his legacy during a turbulent time.
For Reverend Jesse Jackson, a man who knew Dr. King well, his legacy changed the course of activism and continues to inspire to this day.
“Dr. King was an emancipator, he inspired us, he changed our conditions, our objective conditions,” Jackson said.
At Rainbow PUSH headquarters in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood, a life-sized photo from the Memphis Motel Balcony, where Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.
Next to King in the photo is a young Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was one of those in the non-violence movement for civil rights.
“What happens is when you reduce white fears and raise Black hopes, that’s the combination,” Jackson said.
A combination Jackson said is still in progress, seeking justice in voting rights, housing and de facto segregation.
Following a summer of unrest over racial equity, Jackson sees Dr. King’s vision as incomplete but not unattainable.
“I think about when we were marching, we were trying to say ‘let’s live together as brothers and sisters, not die apart as fools,'” Jackson said.