MLK Breakfast Jesse Jackson

CHICAGO — On what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.’s 84th birthday, political and faith leaders gathered on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus on Tuesday to honor the civil rights pioneer’s legacy and to discuss what King would have made of President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, reports The Huffington Post.

In a discussion serving as the centerpiece of the Chicago-headquartered Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 23rd annual scholarship breakfast celebration, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Otis Moss Jr. — both of whom were with King in 1968 on the last birthday he celebrated — said King would be there “supporting the inaugural celebration, but he would not be satisfied” by what he saw in the nation’s capitol if he were alive today.
“The debate in Washington is about the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling,” Jackson told HuffPost at the event. “It is not about poverty. It is not about the working poor. It is not about racial disparities that take away from health care and education. It’s not about a plan for reconstruction. … It is unfinished business.”

Jackson, a former Democratic candidate for president and Rainbow PUSH’s founder, met King in 1965 and was working as a full-time organizer with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference soon after. Jackson was with King on April 4, 1968, the day he was murdered at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.

When Jackson retold the story of how the gunshot that killed King echoed through the spring air that day, the “BANG!” reverberated off the walls of the UIC’s exhibition hall.

After his friend’s assassination, Jackson said the focus of civil right advocates was never on finding the gunman, but to target a larger culprit: “a sick society.”

Read the full story on Huffington Post.

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