Jesse Jackson Sr. has made many pilgrimages, negotiating and freeing many American’s in the sensitive world of formal and informal diplomacy. None were more dramatic than in his run for President in 1984. December of 1983 he traveled to Syria and successfully freed an American Soldier (Lt. Goodman) who had been captured and held hostage by the Syrian government. Later in June of 1984, Jackson freed American and Cuban prisoners, capping a dramatic exercise in personal diplomacy with President Fidel Castro of Cuba. Mr. Jackson's chartered Boeing 707 arrived at Dulles International Airport just before midnight with 16 American prisoners aboard and 7 Cuban political prisoners. Jackson took a large retinue on these trips, but in both cases asked me to stay in the US and keep the campaign operation running smoothly. I agreed, but begrudgingly. I sought the excitement that I knew would come during and after the trips. I often reflect, I should have insisted on traveling on those historical journeys. One of Jackson’s long-term associates and one of President Carter’s Labor Department appointees, Lamond Godwin, did not work for the campaign but quite honestly, was my constant rival for Jackson’s favor. Often, he and I were mistaken for each other. (In the cover picture: on Jesse’s right was my dear friend and the late, Dr. Ron Waters, Political Science Professor at Howard University, myself on Jesse’s left and the aforementioned Mr., Godwin on my left.)
Love, Preston Jr., "“My Two Years with Jesse Jackson Sr.”, Part 4" (2018). Black Studies Faculty Publications. 67.
This article was originally published on 4urban.org.