The fight for freedom and equality for African Americans is one that's passed down from one generation to the next and from one era of black leadership to the next. Throughout the known history, the African American leadership has had a lot of outstanding men and women who made their mark and made a difference for black people in the United States. And that tradition carries on to this day with modern black leadership like Barrack Obama, Jessie Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Jessie Jackson has organized his efforts to uphold the struggle for civil rights in one of the most groundbreaking organizations in history that came to be called the Rainbow Coalition. This organization exemplified the dreams and goals of the Reverend Jackson, without doubt. But it also represents the shared efforts of black Americans across the nation in modern times to retain the dream of Martin Luther King alive and moving forward.
As a matter of fact, the Rainbow Coalition was the final result of a series of efforts and movements that started with a kinship between Reverend Jackson and Dr. King. It was Martin Luther King that called for Jessie Jackson to head up a movement known as Operation Breadbasket, a project to seek the economic betterment of black communities across the country, especially in the inner city. Operation Breadbasket eventually developed into a powerful civil rights organization called the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
When these movements began to make a real difference in the lives of African Americans in America, the next step was the development of Operation PUSH which stood for People United to Save Humanity. This influential organization became the cornerstone for furthering civil rights and social justice for African Americans in the last two decades.
It was from these various initiatives and the success they were recognizing that the Rainbow Coalition was delivered to essay economic opportunity in the business community and to encourage Fortune 500 companies to employ minorities and to expand their engagement in the nurturing and the development of black community for the good of all peoples.
The naming of the movement "The Rainbow Coalition" is crucial to the vision Reverend Jackson had for the civil rights crusade. He didn't see it as just black people working for the improvement of the black community. Rather, inspired by Martin Luther King's dream of equality and brotherhood of all races, the coalition would rightfully be a partnership of all minorities, the white community and other equal rights movements to search equal opportunity for all of America's citizens.
The important posture that The Rainbow Coalition brought back the consciousness of the black community and to America was the concept that civil rights wasn't just a black issue. It accentuated that all of America cannot move forward when a portion of the population is left to flounder in poverty and without the profits of a good education and job opportunities. The effect is that the black pride that was built up by distinguished figures of black history such as Mohammed Ali, Spike Lee and even more extremist elements such as Malcolm X and the Black Panthers can now be used to promote truthful equality in the society. In doing so, Jackson and other contemporary black leaders instructed that the African American community not only could be, but must assert on being fully black and fully American in their status in American culture.
Lastly, the Rainbow Coalition accentuated that civil rights isn't only a political issue. The emphasis was on all scenes of American life including social opportunity, economic equality and even equal representation in the media and entertainment arts. To be genuinely represented as a significant part of American culture, black Americans must get equal opportunities in all venues.
This is the substance for its time that Reverend Jackson and the Rainbow coalition has bestowed and continues to bring to the national stage. And it's a crucial message that takes the good that was done in past civil rights movements in this country and brings up to date with a fresh century.