A highly respected world leader, Rev. Jackson has acted many times as an international diplomat appealing for and winning the release of Americans held captive in Syria, Cuba, Kuwait, Iraq and Kosovo. Freed American P.O.W. Shoshanna Johnson stated that while in captivity she and her fellow captives wondered aloud, "Do you think Jesse will come and get us?" In a nod to his unique ability to build unprecedented bridges of understanding between people, in 1997 Rev. Jackson was appointed by President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as "Special Envoy of the President and Secretary of State for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa."
Rev. Jackson's list of accomplishments has continued to lengthen. In 1991 he became only the second living person in American history to be given the honor of having his likeness placed on a U.S. Post Office pictorial cancellation postal stamp. Twice, he has been invited to London to lead the largest marches in the world: once, in 1985, to call for the end of apartheid in South Africa; and for the second time, in 2003, to appeal to world leaders to halt the march to the war in Iraq. He has been a perennial occupant on the Gallup List of the Ten Most Respected Americans for more than twenty years.
A recipient of the prestigious NAACP Spingarn Award, he has received honors from hundreds of grassroots and community organizations and has been awarded more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees. Additionally, he frequently lectures at many of the nation's premier colleges and universities including: Howard; Yale; Princeton; Morehouse; Harvard; Columbia; Stanford; and Hampton University. A noted media personality Rev. Jackson has hosted "Both Sides with Jesse Jackson" on CNN and is the current host of the WORD Network's "UP FRONT with JESSE JACKSON". He is the author of two books and the co-author of two others with his son, U.S. Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. : Keep Hope Alive (South End Press, 1989); Straight From the Heart (Fortress Press, 1987); Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice, and the Death Penalty (Marlowe & Company, 1996); and It's About The Money! (Times Books / Random House, Inc., 2000).
While at North Carolina A&T, Rev. Jackson met and married his college sweetheart, Jacqueline Lavinia Brown in 1962. They have five children and six grandchildren. The Jacksons reside in Chicago and Washington, D.C.