What You Need To Know:
You may now call him “Monsieur Commander of the Legion of Honor.” Rev. Jesse Jackson was awarded France’s highest honor Monday by President Emmanuel Macron. The 79-year-old American civil rights leader was celebrated for his work to “change the destiny of the United States, the world.”
Surrounded by the Jackson family and high ranking members of the French government, Rev. Jackson sat next to the podium as President Macron spoke about the “visionary with talent for uniting and leading people, whose moral and physical courage… has helped him to overcome adversity and change the destiny of the United States, our oldest ally, and to change our world for the better.”
Macron spoke about the civil rights leader’s life from his South Carolina childhood to his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to his historic 1984 and 1988 campaigns for President to his present day activism. As he fights against Parkinson’s disease, the founder of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition continues the work. Last month, Mr. Jackson was arrested on Capitol Hill with Rev.William Barber III during a protest against the Republican filibuster.
The President of France also talked about a “less-known story for which you never sought credit,” Mr. Jackson’s 1990 role in freeing French hostages. During the first Gulf War, citizens from several countries trying to stop the invasion of Kuwait were taken hostage by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Macron said Jackson negotiated the release of French citizens “and thanks to you, they were safely returned to their families.”
“You are a brother to us,” Macron said.