Jay Howe wrote the following guest column at the request of the Chicago host committee that recently recognized Jesse L. Jackson on the 35th anniversary year of his historic run for the U.S. presidency.
Yes, those were the days, 1987-88! It all made quite an impact. We deliberately juxtaposed Jesse Jackson from South Chicago into rural, white, farm country Iowa. It worked well to raise his national visibility, eventually helping him win several state Democratic primaries. The first African American to rise as a viable presidential candidate.
National farm leader Dixon Terry of Greenfield, Iowa met Jackson at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco. The two of them recognized the potential for including family farm agriculture and rural places in Jackson’s political coalition. The 1980s saw many family-scale farms in deep financial trouble because of high borrowing costs and commodity prices below costs of production.
So in January 1987, it all flowed into the Jackson exploratory event on Superbowl Sunday at the United Methodist Church in Greenfield. When Jackson witnessed a packed house of small-town and farm folks show up in southwest Iowa, that was “it”!Continue Reading...