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It was wonderful to be interviewed by Jenn White of WBEZ Radio produced by Daniel Tucker on latest book Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons & Speeches of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.

The book is being read widely and is already in third printing in 2 months of being published.

Please read it for Black History Month as the book itself is a living document of where the civil rights movement has changed and affected many aspects of American politics, culture and society.

With His New Book, Rev. Jesse Jackson Is ‘Keeping Hope Alive’

The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s speeches have moved and inspired audiences around the world for more than 50 years. Acting as editor, Professor Grace Kim has gathered many of Jackson’s most famous oratorical moments in book form for the first time.

Reset caught up with Jackson and Kim to talk about the collection, titled Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., and reflect on how Jackson’s words still resonate today.

On making selections for Keeping Hope Alive

Professor Grace Kim: The ones that we collected, they are kind of global. Rev. Jackson’s impact is not just in the U.S. or in Canada. … He has made a global impact. So we’ve gathered speeches from when he spoke in India and South Africa and England, all around the world, to give a glimpse to young students and to many older adults who remember him traveling around the world….So that’s how we kind of came up with these selections, that it was a snapshot of what he did in the country, in the U.S., and around the world.

Rev. Jesse Jackson: I didn’t want to do it, because often my speeches or sermons are spontaneous out of situations, written to be heard, not to be written. These ‘84 and ‘88 speeches, many people requested them. We put those speeches in the book. … Dr. Kim did tremendous pulling these speeches together and making sense of them.

On how the book intertwines theology and social justice

Kim: It’s very hard to separate his politics from his theology because they’re so combined together. When he speaks, he’s preaching. When he’s preaching, he’s speaking. So that’s the exciting part about the book. When we were putting it together, … he was a little hesitant because it’s really difficult for such a historic figure who is a superb speaker — to put that down and print it does really no justice.

Jackson: Theology and liberation intertwine. I would say my religion makes me political. My politics don’t make me religious. … There’s a politics to Jesus.

Kim: It’s a living historical document. … We did a Starbucks book signing and even little kids were there. And that’s so exciting because that’s what I imagined, that children who may have never heard of an icon like Rev. Jackson can kind of sit down with their parents. And I’ve had parents who say they’re reading one page at a time with their children. It’s a history lesson. It’s a theological lesson. It’s a civil rights lesson. There’s so much in that small book.

Jackson: Leaving some legacy of print is part of my work now.

On moving the fight for civil rights forward

Kim: I think the book is so timely. … Now that it’s come out during this election year, I think that’s what makes it exciting, because … we included the ‘84 and ‘88 speeches. That was a last-minute decision because the need, the demand was there. And so I think right now people can read it, students can read it to see where we have come … and where we are today and where we need to go.

Jackson: What sustains me in these difficult times is my faith, my belief that it’s dark but the morning’s coming. It’s dark, but that light is coming. It’s not a train coming this way with sunshine, it’s hope. I look over my life, the last 60 years, I’ve seen so much progress. … Learn to live together is our challenge today.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to hear the entire conversation.

Click here to listen to the interview.

NPR reposted it. Check it out here.

Starbucks Book Signing

Pictures below from the World’s Largest Starbucks Book Signing Feb 20, 2020, Chicago, IL

Read the Suntimes article which covered the Starbucks Book signing Event

 

Watch the PBS interview

Watch the #KeepingHopeAlive interview online wttw.com/news .

Here, for the first time in print: a powerful selection of sermons and speeches by one of America’s most unforgettable orators and champions of human rights.

For over fifty years, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., a Baptist minister, activist, and organizer, has worked for civil rights, peace, and the promise of true democracy. From his years in the Civil Rights movement, his work as founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and as an international ambassador for human rights, he has left an indelible impression on the history of our time.

These speeches and sermons, delivered both to the downtrodden and the powerful, from Senegal and Bangkok to Chicago include the famous speeches he delivered at the Democratic Party conventions of 1984 and 1988 following his historic campaigns for the presidential nomination.

In a moving epilogue, Rev. Jackson reflects, “After all these years, what remains for me, is God is a source of mystery and wonder. Scripture holds up. The righteous are not forsaken. We’ve come a long way since slavery time. But we’re not finished yet. Running for freedom is a long distance race.”

Below is a raw footage of the PBS Chicago interview:

 

Review

“I’ve been with Jesse since he was 18. Now he’s 78 and his writing and his preaching have only continued to get deeper and better. His words have inspired countless thousands. It makes me happy to see this collection of speeches and sermons by my friend and brother.”—Ambassador Andrew Young

 

“This collection further cements Reverend Jackson’s enduring role as one of the nation’s most prophetic preachers and visionaries. His tireless advocacy continues to inspire a generation, myself included, who have tried to implement his lessons into my own social justice ministry.”—Rev. Al Sharpton, President & Founder, NAN and host of Politics Nation on MSNBC

 

“Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.—my friend, ‘the Rev’—has spoken out across the decades, across the generations, across all the barriers to justice and healing that we erect.  We have not always listened.  Listen now!”—Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, former General Secretary, National Council of Churches

“Rev. Jackson is one of the world’s most consequential public theologians and his oratory merits ongoing study and discussion. At a time of international unrest, we would be well served by revisiting his prescriptions for repairing our fragmented world and forging ahead together to build a global beloved community.”—Robert M. Franklin, President Emeritus, Morehouse College

“Rev. Jackson is one of the world’s most dynamic icons of civil and human rights. In this masterpiece he blends global equity, financial literacy, and religious inspiration.”—Tricia “CK” Hoffler, Esq., President-Elect, National Bar Association

 

“With the searing insight of a prophetic seer Rev. Jackson speaks truth to power while arming the powerless with liberating truth. These messages and speeches will remind marginalized ‘nobodies’ that they are ‘somebody’ and inspire all of us to ‘Keep Hope Alive!’”—Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, Sr Pastor, Friendship West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

“Rev. Jackson’s oratorical style, his theological prowess, and his powerful presence rooted in Black Folks Religion have deeply moved me over the decades. This collection of his sermons will move you as well, to keep hope alive.”—The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan

 

“Rev. Jackson’s words have inspired in the hearts of generations of people the will to fight to make ideals become reality. These words of hope have inspired our progress and fueled our ongoing struggle for human rights and justice, even as we keep hope alive.”—Rev. S. Todd Yeary, JD, PhD, Senior Pastor, Douglas Memorial Community Church, Baltimore, MD

 

“This is a remarkable collection of the profound insights and life-altering oratory of one of the most remarkable figures in American history.”—Obery Hendricks, PhD, Columbia University, author, The Politics of Jesus

 

“In this book we have a summary of what embodied spirituality and activist political theology for peace, civil rights, social, and economic justice for all peoples looks like.”—Rev. Edwin David Aponte, PhD, Executive Director, Louisville Institute

“A dynamic example of preaching as an embodied practice—in one sense transitory by virtue of its rootedness in oral traditioning yet bearing fruit viable beyond its time through the actions it inspires for justice.”—Carmen Nanko-Fernández, Catholic Theological Union

“Rev. Jesse Jackson’s name invokes the ongoing struggle for justice and advocacy for civil rights, and this collection of his sermons and speeches is representation of a black gospel message, from a global figure, that is firmly grounded in an interpretation of the way of Jesus as the way of Justice.”—Reggie L. Williams, McCormick Theological Seminary

 

“This books captures the spirit of a man and his spirit will inspire the next generation of social activists and preachers. This is a must read for anyone who desires to connect to the roots of social justice.”–Rev. Ralph Basui Watkins, Senior Pastor, The Historic Wheat Street Baptist Church of Atlanta

 

“A great gift to those of us called to speak truth to power in the public square. . . . Rev. Jesse Jackson’s life-long emphasis—in word and deed—on solidarity, justice, and the dignity of all persons is a model for anyone who seeks to follow Jesus.”—Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, Senior Pastor, Foundry United Methodist Church

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