GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Rev. Jesse Jackson has seen a few things in his life.
From being with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the day he was killed to being the first African-American presidential candidate who made a serious run at the job, Jackson has spent a lifetime breaking down walls.
He was a scholarship athlete at North Carolina A&T in the early 1960s and used that background to talk about how, in his words, “We need to co-exist, not co-annihilate each other,” when it comes to the various ethnic backgrounds and races in America.
“When we play football and basketball together, we become champions,” says Jackson. “Why would Duke or UNC or NC State, A&T, who had an undefeated season, why are we so good on the football field? Because we're playing where it's even, the rules are transparent and the referees, non-partisan.”
Jackson has fond memories of his days at A&T and Greensboro, overall.
“I had my feet in A&T and my mind in Bennett, even then,” says Jackson with a chuckle. “We had to leave (Bennett’s) campus at 8 p.m., you couldn't stay long at Bennett. But it's one big family, really. But HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) have been so significant. Even today, the number one producer of engineers - Black engineers, today – HBCUs; of teachers, of lawyers, HBCUs. Some of the most phenomenal women in the world come from Bennett College.”
In fact, Jackson says Bennett had as much to do with perpetuating the Sit-In Movement as A&T.
“Oh, yeah. But I also know the girls from Bennett sustained it,” he says. “1961, '62, the women of Bennett were the whole movement.”
See more of Rev. Jackson’s memories in this edition of the Buckley Report.