Frontline: Season 14, Episode 9

The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson (30 Apr. 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
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30 April 1996 (USA)  »

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The Reverend Jesse Jackson, great, flawed, and a legend in his own time
10 March 2004 | by (Decatur, Ga) – See all my reviews

The Pilgrimage Of Jesse Jackson, a 1996 PBS documentary accompanied a book written by Southern writer Marshall Frady. Frady serves as the narrator in this film. The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson digs deep into the events that have shaped the life of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. The viewer will see how Jesse became the son of a teenage, South Carolina beauty queen, whose hopes of becoming an opera singer was extinguished after she became pregnant by South Carolina businessman Norah Robinson.

Jesse was known as Norah's illegitimate child, who was raised by a decent janitor that his mother actually married and adopted the last name Jackson. The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson proves to great effect that Jackson had to prove himself and to others that he was more, much more than the abandoned child of Norah Robinson. This excellent documentary follows Jesse Jackson from his childhood in Greenville, South Carolina to his unsuccessful fight and march in Atlanta against the Republican Party's Contract For America.

The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson presents his character flaws like his obsession with the media, Jackson's argument with Martin Luther King days before his assassination because of insubordination, him lying about getting blood on King's shirt after King was shot, abandoning protests and movements when the glare of the spotlight (media) put its attention else where in the world, the alleged statement about Jews while running for President in 1984 and Jackson's near victory within a few hundred, thousand votes for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 1988. The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson provides a well balanced portrait of a man who has done great things, but also have made his mistakes as we all do.

I give this film **** star/excellent. Sorry the documentary is not on video, but request PBS to show it.


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