Jesse Jackson: The Supreme Grifter or The Great Civil Rights Icon?

Adebayo Adeniran
4 min readJun 23, 2024

You decide…

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Reading a book is akin to unwrapping a box of chocolate: you’re never sure of what you’re going to get.

Some books have the most seductive title and deliver very little while others actually do exactly what was written on the cover.

But nothing prepared me for what was to come when I started sifting through several titles at my favourite bookstore.

Shakedown, exposing the real Jackson on the outside did give the impression of a hit piece, given the background of the author, but reading every single page did more than disabuse me of this notion.

Anyone who’s familiar with the Reverend Jesse Jackson will know that he was born to a 16 year old mother — Helen Burns — and her 33 year old neighbour who was married and had a family of his own.

Contrary to what we were told by the man himself, that his childhood was dirt poor and deprived, Noah Robinson Sr. was middle class and ever present in his son’s life, which informed his life choices as it related to finishing high school and going to college.

Jackson’s propensity for being economical with the truth was forged during his college days and it certainly found its way to the Southern Christian Leadership Council, when he…



Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible