Graham spends two days with Rev. Jesse Jackson, from his headquarters in Chicago to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The college athlete turned civil rights activist discusses his tough upbringing, his critics and the assassination of his colleague, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plus, Jackson reflects on the enduring connection between sports and protest and offers an exclusive, first-hand look at his fight against Parkinson’s disease.
Rev. Jesse Jackson opens up in detail about his Parkinson’s diagnosis, admitting he didn’t give the warning signs the attention they deserved and reflecting on his father’s battle with the disease. Plus, Graham joins Jackson and trainer Greg Hachaj for an exclusive look at physical therapy customized to treat the effects of Parkinson’s.
Rev. Jesse Jackson talks about the importance of sports to African-American culture, citing boxers Jack Johnson and Joe Louis, baseball legend Jackie Robinson, and the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick. He also remembers late friend, Muhammad Ali and the athletic skills of his boxer father and stepfather who played minor league baseball.
Rev. Jesse Jackson discusses his skills as an athlete, from his early baseball days inspired by his minor league playing stepfather, to the football prowess which earned him a college scholarship. He also decries the exploitation he sees in modern college sports, arguing that sports favored by black NCAA athletes bring in most of the revenue for entire athletic departments, without receiving the financial compensation they deserve.
Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks candidly about his poor upbringing in Greenville, South Carolina, including his birth out of wedlock to 16-year-old Helen, his stepfather’s difficulty affording groceries and complicated feelings toward his wealthier, biological father.
Rev. Jesse Jackson talks about his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He remembers leaving seminary to meet him during the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; assisting him in bringing his movement north to Chicago; and the work he was doing up until his death, amid negative approval ratings throughout the country.
Graham joins Rev. Jesse Jackson at Memphis’ Lorraine Motel – the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination – for the National Civil Rights Museum’s commemoration of his death. Jackson vividly recalls the fateful day, including the moment King was assassinated, informing Mrs. King of the shooting and wearing a sweater stained with King’s blood over the following days. Plus, his thoughts on convicted shooter, James Earl Ray and suspicions the shooter was aided by the FBI.
Rev. Jesse Jackson discusses his organization, Rainbow/PUSH, and its half century of fighting for black economic growth, political representation and civil rights. He’s also frank about Rainbow/PUSH’s future after he’s gone and reveals the piece of criticism he takes as a compliment.
Rev. Jesse Jackson recalls early memories of President Barack Obama, explains why he called his presidential win “the last lap of a 60-year race” and why he cried after President Obama’s victory speech. He also remembers being “pushed into” running himself in 1984 and 1988 and why he never won the Democratic nomination.
Rev. Jesse Jackson talks about the case of Jussie Smollet, the “Empire” actor charged in connection with a hate crime he allegedly staged for personal gain. Prosecutors dropped their charges in exchange for community service – which Smollett performed at Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH – and cited a letter of support from the organization when doing so. Jackson defends his offer of “refuge” for Smollett, as well as his support of former prosecutor, Kim Foxx. Her critics have spoken out against her self-recusal from the investigation and question the continued influence she may or may not have on the case.
Rev. Jesse Jackson gives his unfiltered take on Pres. Donald Trump. He calls his association with “poor whites” ironic and contradictory in light of his financial backing and tax reform measures, says he’s manipulated the fears of Americans, and contends that Washington has never been so corrupt.
Rev. Jesse Jackson recounts notable diplomatic moments when he freed innocent prisoners: overseeing Syrian President Hafez al-Assad’s return of a captured American pilot in 1983, flying Russian planes into Cuba to bring back political prisoners held by President Fidel Castro and appealing to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s morality to secure the release of British and American hostages.
Rev. Jesse Jackson opens up about late friend, Michael Jackson. He talks about the legacy he believes people are trying to take from him, remembers one of their last interactions and says continued sexual assault allegations are needless as Michael can no longer defend himself.