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May 23, 2012

Rev. Jesse Jackson Commends the Life of H. Hartford Brookins, Bishop of AME Church and Activist

Bishop Brookins was a minister who saw the Bible as a tool for liberation. He was a builder, creative thinker and laid the ground work for Tom Bradley to become a member of city council and later the mayor of Los Angeles.

When the riots occurred in LA, international press and artists including Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra rallied around his church and his leadership.

Bishop Brookins greeted Dr. King with open arms when it was unpopular to do so. He became one of my mentors, along with Rev. Clay Evans, and led the drive for ministers to draft the Jesse Jackson for President Letter for the 1984 presidential campaign.

After going to Africa, he became a huge force of liberation for Zimbabwe and subsequently South Africa. He was a legend and became a frame of reference and activist for oppressed people in America and around the world. He and President Clinton became dear friends when he presided in the Arkansas area.

So whether Tom Bradley, Dr. King, Richard Hatcher, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, Maxine Waters, or Danny Bakewell—Bishop Brookins cultivated a half a century of leadership.

He was an oasis of hope in the desert; a source of joy and strength. His legacy of service will live on for the people he invested in. He came this way and became a creditor. We are debtors and we thank God for lending him to us for a season.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. For more information about the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, please visit or call (773) 373-3366