US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson meets Derry schoolkids

Jesse Jackson addressing pupils during his visit to the school. INLS 25-704-CON
Jesse Jackson addressing pupils during his visit to the school. INLS 25-704-CON

Reverend Jesse Jackson, the US civil rights activist, is in Derry this week to attend the official opening of the city’s Museum of Free Derry.

Rev. Jackson, who was with Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., on the night he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968, is to unveil a plaque at the Bogside exhibition space on Thursday night.

Jesse Jackson with Oakgrove College principal, Jill Markham.

Jesse Jackson with Oakgrove College principal, Jill Markham.

He is to be joined for the unveiling by Fiachra McGuinness, son of the late Martin McGuinness.

On Wednesday, Rev. Jackson met with pupils at Oakgrove Integrated College before holding talks with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and party representatives.

He later attended a civic reception in the Guildhall hosted by Mayor Maoliosa McHugh.

Among those at the event were the Bloody Sunday families and wounded and representatives of families of those killed during the Troubles in the Free Derry era.

During his visit to Oakgrove College, Rev. Jackson spoke to pupils and was hailed by the school’s principal, Jill Markham, as someone who had made a significant contribution to the struggle for equality.

Ms. Markham added: “The contribution Jesse Jackson made was influenced by the circumstances of his birth, and the struggles for justice in his country throughout his lifetime, and still on-going.

“But, in celebrating one man’s contribution, we should also remember the contribution each of us has to make in working for justice.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

“Jesse Jackson will speak to us about his story, and he will inspire us to be the best that we can be in making our world a better place.”

“I hope that the words and the experience you have this morning will inspire you for your future. Never forget the importance of hearing from Jesse Jackson today.

“All of us are somebody. All of us are equal. All of us can make a difference.”