Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. began service in the United States House
of Representatives on December 12, 1995, as he was sworn in as
a member of the 104th Congress, the 91st African American ever
elected to Congress.
Representative Jackson currently sits on the House
Appropriations Committee, serving as the 5th ranking Democrat
on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and
Education as well as the 2nd ranking Democrat on the
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and
Related Programs. His leadership created the National Center
on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National
Institutes of Health in 2001, hailed by many minority health
experts as the most important civil rights legislation since
the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Representative Jackson also secured
funding for the Institute of Medicine's 2002 report on health
disparities, "Unequal Treatment.'
Prior to his congressional service, Representative Jackson
served as the National Field Director of the National Rainbow
Coalition. In this role, he instituted a national non-partisan
program that successfully registered millions of new voters.
He also created a voter education program to teach citizens
the importance of participating in the political process,
including how to use technology to win elections and more
effectively participate in politics.
Born in the midst of the voting rights struggle on March
11, 1965, Representative Jackson spent his twenty-first
birthday in a jail cell in Washington, D.C. for taking part in
a protest against apartheid at the South African Embassy. He
also demonstrated weekly in front of the South African
Consulate in Chicago. Representative Jackson was on stage with
Nelson Mandela during his historic speech following a 27-year
imprisonment in Cape Town.
In 1987, Representative Jackson graduated magna cum laude
from North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro,
North Carolina, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree
in Business Management. Three years later, he earned a Master
of Arts Degree in Theology from the Chicago Theological
Seminary, and in 1993, received his Juris Doctorate from the
University of Illinois College of Law. He has also been
awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the Chicago
Theological Seminary, Governors State University, North
Carolina A & T State University, Charles R. Drew Univ. of
Medicine and Science, Meharry Medical College and Morehouse
School of Medicine. Representative Jackson has co-authored A
More Perfect Union: Advancing New American Rights (2001) with
Frank E. Watkins. He has also co-authored Legal Lynching II
(2001), It's About the Money (1999) and Legal Lynching (1996).
Representative Jackson resides in the Second Congressional
District of Illinois with his wife Sandi, daughter Jessica
Donatella, and son Jesse L. Jackson, III.