Rev. Jesse Jackson on honoring MLK, voting rights and the nation’s youth


(NewsNation Now) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the veteran civil rights leader, will be watching closely Tuesday as the U.S. Senate takes up significant legislation on voting rights.

“We will see who is with us and who is against us,” Jackson said Monday on “NewsNation Prime.”

Jackson, who worked closely as a young man with Martin Luther King Jr., joined the show to honor King during the holiday that marked what would have been his 93rd birthday.

“He is a scholar who suggested I read a fiction and nonfiction book every week,” Jackson said as he recalled his time with King.

Speaking in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Martin Luther King III said though he was marking the federal holiday named for his father, he wasn’t there to celebrate. He was there to call on Congress and President Joe Biden to pass the sweeping legislation that would help ease Republican-led voting restrictions passed in at least 19 states that make it more difficult to cast a ballot.

“Our democracy stands on the brink of serious trouble without these bills,” he said.

Jackson said Friday that he was worried about the current lack of political consensus on voting rights. Previously, Republicans and Democrats in Washington voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with both parties recognizing the historic nature of the legislation.

“The right to vote was the crown jewel of the civil rights struggle,” Jackson said last week, adding that “we’re in a desperate situation.”

While speaking with NewsNation, Jackson also discussed our nation’s youth, which he previously called the most diverse and the least racist of any American generation.

“They must be taught the power to vote,” Jackson said.

He wants high school graduates to receive voter registration cards.

“They should be fighting for free community colleges,” Jackson said.

As for his health, Jackson, who previously tested positive for COVID, said he is doing very well now.

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