Former Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. is a man of courage, with a renewed mission. In his new book, The Finger of God: From the Lineage of David to the Presidency of The United States (Archway Publishing – 2021), Jackson takes readers on a historical Constitutional odyssey intertwined with Biblical and scholarly quotes, along with illuminating transparencies about his personal, political and prison life.
In his points of references in The Finger of God Jackson relies upon his theological wisdom and the foundation of the forefathers of our nation. Jackson dissects the U.S. Constitution and educates readers while invoking his vision for America. He also shares his unwavering strengths, his frailties, and his unguarded reflective moments.
As a graduate of North Carolina, A&T State University (BS), Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv), the University of Illinois College of Law (JD), the eldest son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. garnered respect and honor while rising as an esteemed Congressman during his political career serving 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District.
Having served as the national co-chairman during Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign in 2008, Jackson was an influencer amongst his colleagues and in his community who had crossover appeal and eloquent oratorical magnetism. His career was also riddled with controversy after he resigned in 2012 and faced campaign financial improprieties that led to a conviction. The outcome of his offense was a 30-month prison sentence which forced Jackson to face a period of deep introspection.
Although Jackson’s remorse stemmed from his own errors in judgement, not upkeeping his family name, the demise of his marriage and the mere fact that he would be deemed a “felon,” which all weighed on his emotions, Jackson faced the truth. He sought redemption and found new purpose while being incarcerated. Presently, the former Congressman is on a path to reeducate and re-spiritualize the nation and help reform the prison system.
“I actually had to experience prison to experience what those who are incarcerated go through,” Jackson wrote. “In hindsight, prison was one of the best things that happened to me. I am not fighting just for prison reform; I am fighting for the rights of every human being, and especially the fallen. The fight is for justice, but my personal experience gave me the fire of radical empathy and a new American truth.”
Jackson’s mother, confidante and family matriarch, Jacqueline Jackson, wrote to him every single day while he was incarcerated. She gave him new insight, while making him feel more connected to her and the outside world. His mother’s letters to him were later published in her own book, Loving You, Thinking of You, Don’t Forget to Pray: Letters to My Son in Prison (2018).
“These letters and my mother’s spirit were a sustaining force,” Jackson recalled. “I am grateful for her letters. She conveyed her love through scripture, stories and more than anything, her constant reminders that she loved me and was thinking of me and that I should never forget to pray.”
The Finger of God is Volume I of a two-part series. His book A More Perfect Union: Advancing American Rights (Volume II) was re-released in 2021. Jackson has also co-authored Legal Lynching: Racism, Injustice, and the Death Penalty with his father, as well as It’s About the Money: How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams. It is The Finger of God, with a foreword by Dr. James A. Forbes and afterword by Dr. Cornell West.
“I hope this work will lift all our thinking above the current morass that is America,” Jackson noted in his book. “My father said, ‘We must turn to each other and not on each other’ to the promise of America, to the possibility of America, and leave the foundation for one of humanity’s greatest hours.”
“I value America and its traditions, and I love our country,” Jackson penned in his book. “All people were created equal and hold the truths of the Declaration of the Independence to be self-evident. My blind spot is not the country of my birth, the country in which my father dreamed a presidency possible, but on my role in a country that extends the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all.”
Jackson wants to share historical findings via his words and his work and see “second chances” become more of a reality for deserving prisoners (without recidivism). He is educating others to raise the bar. With education in mind, Jackson said he envisions professors and teachers selecting his books as required readings in college curriculums. He is also interested in opportunities as an undergraduate and graduate-level lecturer.
“In the meantime, I plan to continue writing unique works that will stay alive long after I am gone,” Jackson said.
Dr. Cornel West’s review of The Finger of God
“This original and rich book – powerful and insightful – is the product of his [Jackson’s] painstaking research and grand vision. This serious and substantive text plunges deep into the theological imagination of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. Constitution. In stark contrast to many American Constitutional scholars who highlight the influence of the European enlightenments, class interests or white supremacists’ beliefs, Jackson focuses on the incontestable biblical sources and theological formulations of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and others. This religious emphasis takes us back to the greatest scholar of early American history – Perry Miller. Jackson’s turn back to the fundamental theme of Divine Providence – the finger of God shot through the U.S. Constitution and tied to the original intent of the framers – unsettles common secular perspectives. Yet his textual evidence is compelling. Jackson’s Christian sensibilities resonate with the two great literary epics in American history: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses. Both artistic masterpieces posit the beginnings and endings of America as a theological, if not downright, biblical, experiment. The fundamental question is – can the human spirit be resurrected in the U.S. project as a republic and a culture.”
THE FINGER OF GOD: FROM THE LINEAGE OF DAVID TO THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES is available via Amazon.com.