Once an aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson has been a political activist and public figure since the civil rights days of the 1960s. Jackson, a Baptist minister, is the founder of the non-profit organization PUSH (People United to Save Humanity). In the 1980s he was a regular presence at rallies and protests, especially on the topic of civil rights but also in other areas. He has several times been an unofficial U.S. envoy in diplomatic missions; in 1999 he helped secure the release of three American military prisoners from Yugoslavia. He made unsuccessful runs for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 1984 and 1988, losing to Walter Mondale in 1984 and to Michael Dukakis in 1988. Both elections were ultimately won by Republican candidates: Ronald Reagan (1984) and George Bush Sr. (1988).
He married the former Jacqueline Lavinia in 1962. Their son, Jesse Jr., was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994… The elder Jackson admitted in 2001 that he was the father of a daughter, Ashley, who had been born out of wedlock in 1999 after Jackson had an affair with a worker at the Washington PUSH offices… Jackson is no relation to pop star Michael Jackson.