Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Mother Passes Away at 91, Services Held in SC

jesse jackson mother dies

Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Mother Passes Away at 91, Services Held in SC

When the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s mother gave birth to him as an unwed teen, “I guarantee you where she was going to church didn’t look like this,” said former President Bill Clinton in his signature, conversational style during homegoing services Monday for Helen Burns Jackson. Mrs. Jackson died Sept. 7 at age 91.

Springfield Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., was filled with love, laughter and tears for the woman who gave the world the civil rights icon, twice presidential candidate and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, and his younger brother, Charles “Chuck” Jackson, a Grammy-winning singer and songwriter credited with launching Natalie Cole’s legendary career.

Mrs. Jackson’s story could easily have stopped with her being a teen mom, but because she didn’t treat life like a “dress rehearsal,” noted Clinton, she was responsible for depositing great gifts to the world, namely, two accomplished sons.

“Your mother was a national treasure,” Clinton told the Rev. Jackson, his friend and longtime political ally from the pulpit of a church organized by former slaves, as about 500 onlookers cried, laughed and cheered as they heard heartfelt anecdotes about the woman affectionately known as “Mama Helen.”

In addition to Clinton, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the Rev. Al Sharpton, TV’s Greg Mathis and former South Carolina Gov. Richard Riley were among those in attendance. Among those sending proclamations were President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, South African President Jacob Zuma, Guinean President Alpha Condé, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the British House of Commons.

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