Representative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. began service in the United States House of Representatives on December 12, 1995, as he was sworn in as a member of the 104th Congress, the 91st African American ever elected to Congress. Representative Jackson currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education as well as the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs. Prior to his congressional service, Representative Jackson served as the National Field Director of the National Rainbow Coalition. In this role, he instituted a national nonpartisan program that successfully registered millions of new voters. He also created a voter education program to teach citizens the importance of participating in the political process, including how to use technology to win elections and more effectively participate in politics.
Having been born in the midst of the voting rights struggle on March 11, 1965, Representative Jackson spent his twenty-first birthday in a jail cell in Washington, D.C. for taking part in a protest against apartheid at the South African Embassy. He also demonstrated weekly in front of the South African Consulate in Chicago. Representative Jackson had the privilege of sharing the stage with Mr. Nelson Mandela during his historic speech to the world following a 27-year imprisonment in Cape Town. In 1987, Representative Jackson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management.
Three years later, he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Theology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 1993, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from The Chicago Theological Seminary, North Carolina A & T State University and Governors State University. In 1996, he coauthored a book against the death penalty with his father, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, entitled Legal Lynching. Representative Jackson resides in the Second Congressional District of Illinois with his wife, Sandi and daughter, Jessica Donatello..