Rev. Jesse Jackson (Damaso Reyes photo)

On June 15, when the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced plans to retire as President and CEO of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a month later he named Dr. Frederick Douglass Haynes, III, as his successor. Dr. Haynes was officially installed at the organization’s national convention on Sunday, July 16, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a keynote speaker.

    Assuming the helm of Rainbow PUSH is a leadership role he is familiar with since he is the senior pastor Friendship-West Baptist Church, a megachurch in Dallas with more than 13,000 members. A press release stated that Dr. Haynes will continue as senior pastor at the church.

“Rev. Jesse Jackson has made the world a better place, breaking down barriers, opening previously locked doors of opportunity, fighting for justice, and refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer on behalf of those who have no voice,” said Dr. Haynes. “Rainbow PUSH has been the organizational vehicle that he has driven in the movement for justice. I am honored and humbled that he has tapped me to serve as his successor as the President and CEO of this great organization.”

At the convention, Rev. Jackson, 81, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2017, entered the Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn, Chicago in a wheelchair, leaned on the lectern, and with his usual eminence stated: “I am not retiring. I am pivoting.” He promised to remain actively involved in the movement.

After his son, Rep. Jonathan Jackson, reflecting on his father’s immense legacy, introduced Vice President Harris and she embellished Jackson’s prominence. “Today we celebrate one of America’s greatest patriots, someone who deeply believes in the promise of our country, a fighter for freedom and human rights for all people,” Harris said. “At the core of Rev’s work is the belief that the diversity of our nation is not a weakness or an afterthought, but instead, our greatest strength.” She underscored the importance of Rainbow PUSH in the fight against “the extremists and their agenda to divide us as a nation.”

Dr. Haynes seems well eminently qualified to replace Rev. Jackson with his association with a number of national social, political, and religious organizations, including the founding in 2003 of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference along with Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. and Dr. Iva E. Carruthers. Dr. Haynes currently serves as co-chairman of the board. He is also on the board of the Conference of National Black Churches, the National Action Network, and the IC3 Church Growth and Development Conference. He also serves as a member of the board of trustees of Paul Quinn College, an HBCU in Dallas, Texas where he has served as an adjunct professor.

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