The Medal of Freedom award winner was sworn in on Tuesday (14/12)David Johnson

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson has been sworn in as an Honorary Fellow of Homerton College — an event that Homerton Principle Lord Woolley described as one of his “greatest professional honours.”

Reverend Jackson is a lifelong civil rights campaigner who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s. The Homerton Principle dubbed Jackson a “civil rights icon”.

Jackson stood as the Democratic candidate for Presidency twice and is regarded as a “powerful and passionate orator”. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1968.

He also founded the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) in 1996, which seeks to “protect, defend, and gain civil rights by levelling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.”

The Reverend has been the recipient of many prestigious awards in his lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Légion D’Honneur.

At the ceremony, Lord Woolley said: “For more than 60 years Reverend Jackson has been at the forefront in the struggle for social and racial justice, not just in the US, but across the world.

“This Honorary Fellowship sounds out a clear statement of intent: as a College we’re ambitious, and we want our students and researchers to believe that they, like Reverend Jackson, can change our world.”


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At the ceremony on Tuesday (14/12), Homerton undergraduate Frankie Richards made a moving speech: “I was not born when the Reverend and many other prominent civil rights leaders...first fought for educational provision and equity of access...The Reverend is here today representing those generations who paved the way before us.

“And that is why I am a hopeful young person, because I can only hope that when I am fortunate enough to be in Lord Woolley’s position, that another young person, another young woman of colour, is here to say thank you.”

Politics fellow, Dr Robin Bunce, also praised the Reverend: “As an opponent of segregation in the US, War in Vietnam, and Apartheid in South Africa, he has been a tireless campaigner for social and racial justice. As leader of the Rainbow Coalition he has been a champion of the dispossessed and the marginalised.”

Jackson was sworn in on Tuesday (14/12). The ceremony included a performance by the Homerton Jazz Orchestra and a video montage of the Reverend’s major speeches.