Jonathan Luther Jackson is a United States congressman representing Illinois’ 1st Congressional District, elected in November 2022 and taking office in January 2023. Jackson is an advocate for civil rights, a former professor of business studies at Chicago State University, and a fervent social justice advocate as a former spokesman for the Rainbow Push Coalition.
Born in Chicago on January 7, 1966, to civil rights activist and Baptist minister the Rev. Jesse Louis Jackson Sr., and Jacqueline Lavinia Davis, Jackson is the third of their five children. He also is the godson to civil rights icon, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jackson attended Whitney Moore Young, Jr. Magnet High School, the first public magnet high school in Chicago.
Jackson holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
In 1988, he worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert as an investment analyst. Two years later, he partnered with his brother as co-owner of River North Sales and Service LLC, an Anheuser-Busch Co. distributor based in Chicago.
Jackson was professor of finance and entrepreneurship at City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College from 2011 to 2013, and professor of business at Chicago State University from 2013 to 2015.
In 1983, Jackson traveled with his father to Syria for negotiations to successfully free a captured American pilot, as well as to Cuba in 1984 for his father’s negotiating efforts that won the release of 22 Americans held captive there.
Additionally, he has advocated for the exoneration of individuals wrongfully imprisoned, including Johnnie Lee Savory, imprisoned for decades and pardoned in 2015.
With extensive knowledge, as well as witnessing the perils impacting so many individuals in marginalized communities, Jackson has continued his commitment to fighting injustice. Utilizing his platforms, he has worked to ensure lives are not lost or voices drowned out by systemic racism or inequality.
And with that acute awareness to effect change, Jackson continues to garner positive results in various community roles. As an investor in 2009, he led a group of minority investors in an unsuccessful $250 million bid to take over ION Media Networks, the country’s then-largest chain of independent television stations.
Before running for office in the 2000s, Jackson promoted social change and investments in education and youth.
He married Marilynn Ann Richards in 1995. They have three children.