Reverend Jesse Jackson at Harvard, 1992

by Jason Ong

Update: As of October 21, 2013 there is video related to this post on our website.

[caption id="attachment573" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href=""> Reverend Jesse Jackson at Harvard, 1992. Courtesy CCTV[/caption]

While reviewing the CCTV program tapes, I came across a story about a rally by the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers that CCTV covered in 1992. On December 1st of that year, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers were trying to renew their contract, but they disagreed with the university administration over some provisions. The HUCTW staged a rally in Harvard Yard to gather support for their position, and Jesse Jackson, a supporter of the union, attended and gave a brief speech.


Some of his speech covered the union and its problems, but he also spoke about other political topics, two of which I found very interesting in light of what's happened in the 19 years since he gave that speech:

At that time in 1992, Bill Clinton had been elected, but he was not yet in office. One of his campaign issues had been the need for healthcare reform, and Reverend Jackson spoke about the need for a national plan during his speech. But President Clinton's proposed plan never made it through Congress, and healthcare reform would not happen until 18 years later, under President Obama.

On that note, the idea of an African-American president might have seemed impossible then. In the spring of 1992, Los Angeles had undergone three days of rioting over the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of the police officers who assaulted Rodney King. Reverend Jackson spoke about the need for different races to come together.

Would he have predicted back then, given the tense state of race relations, that the country would elect a minority president within the next 20 years?