Ohio University will host the Rev. Jesse Jackson — civil rights leader, two-time candidate for president and founder and president of the National Rainbow Coalition — Monday as the activist kicks off a nationwide anti-poverty campaign.
He is expected to speak Monday primarily about the need to address depressingly high national poverty numbers and will call on the Obama administration to charter a White House Commission on Poverty, Malnutrition and Human Need.
"It was at OU that (President Lyndon B. Johnson) first really laid out The Great Society," said George Korn, OU director of telecommunications and an adviser to Jackson.
"It's time to ressurect the sprit of LBJ, and what better place to do it than the place where he first announced his efforts to end poverty?"
Jackson will speak at noon Monday in the Baker University
Center Ballroom following an 11:00 a.m. press conference on the portico of
Memorial Auditorium, where Johnson delivered his May 7, 1964
The event is free and will be open to the public.
Jackson is no stranger to Athens. He has made numerous appearances at Ohio University, most recently in 1998. Jackson appeared last week in Columbus to discuss Ohio poverty numbers, child poverty and the referendum petition on House Bill 194.
In a statement posted to the Rainbow Coalition website today, Jackson foreshadowed the announcement of his Athens speech.
"We need to stop fighting unnecessary wars and start feeding children in our cities." he stated. "We need to go back to Appalachia where Lyndon Baines Johnson launched the war on poverty and from that place go to the zones of human need across the country. Let’s honor the American promise to provide for the huddled masses that are tired, poor and yearn to breathe free."
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