At the Ref Desk (12/13/17): Last shift of the year! [more...]

Jesse Jackson & Me

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 6/7/12 (10:50pm)

I ran into Jesse Jackson while in Milwaukee. I've run into him a couple of times before. One memorable occasion was in West Berlin during the Eighties. He had made a speech to thousands of Berliners at the Gedanknis Kirche (i.e. the center of town) finishing with the line, 'we defeated the 3rd Reich in Germany and we'll defeat the 4th Reich in South Africa'. The Berliners cheered. Then he added that he'd be at a party in Dahlem later that evening.

Party in Dahlem! With Jesse Jackson! The moment we heard that, we headed straight to the location -- a lefty social center for students. Unfortunately what Jackson forgot to mention -- probably because he didn't know -- was that they were charging at the door! Charging at the door? Impossible! So instead of going in, we waited. Finally a car arrived and Jesse Jackson got out. "Jesse," I said, running over to him, "I'm from Chicago and they won't let me in!"

He turned to me. "You're from Chicago", he asked. "Come with me!"

We walked arm-in-arm into the place. I headed straight to the liquor table. I filled up my glass and then sauntered back to the entrance to wave to my companions who were still outside. I motioned to the doorman to let them in. Having just walked in arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson, the doorman assumed that I had a certain elevated degree of mojo -- so he let my friends in.

I reminded Jesse of this episode when I saw him in Milwaukee. He was in good spirits and laughed.

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