WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has announced that it will honor the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and one of America's foremost religious, political and civil rights leaders, with the 2010 Louis E. Martin Great American Award at its 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner, April 27, 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington.
Reverend Jackson will be recognized for more than a half-century of activism and leadership in the cause of human and civil rights and non-violent social change, and in particular his efforts to advance civic and political engagement among people of color, a key Joint Center objective over its four decades of service as a leading research and policy institution.
"Through his own example and especially his historic runs for the Presidency, Reverend Jackson perhaps did more than anyone else in our era to enlarge civic engagement and broaden public confidence in our system," said Ralph B. Everett, the Joint Center's President and CEO, who noted that the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has doubled since Reverend Jackson's first presidential campaign in 1984 to more than 10,000 today.
"He inspired and energized millions to greater involvement in their communities, in the political process and in determining their own futures," said Everett. "At the same time, he launched a national conversation on the possibility a person of color could become President of the United States of America."
The Louis E. Martin Great American Award, named after the legendary journalist and presidential advisor and founder of the Joint Center, honors an individual who has promoted racial harmony while championing policies that have made a difference in American society. Previous award recipients include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Muhammad Ali, lawyer and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan, Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and civil rights activist Dr. Dorothy I. Height.
"Many times over the course of the past 40 years, Reverend Jackson has motivated the Joint Center and influenced our research agenda through his focus on particular disparities and concerns in communities of color, and always in the larger national context of building a better America for all citizens," said Roderick D. Gillum, Chair of the Joint Center's Board of Governors.
The Joint Center also announced that the national chairperson of the Gala will be Cynthia G. Marshall, President of AT&T North Carolina and a member of the Joint Center's Board of Governors. AT&T is the world's largest telecommunications holding company by revenue and has chaired the Joint Center's Annual Dinner on three other occasions.
Hosted by the Joint Center each year for more than a quarter century and with this year's theme of Research – Empowerment – Engagement, this year's Gala Dinner is expected to be attended by more than 700 government, business, civic and community leaders from across the country, who will gather to pay tribute to the Joint Center on its 40th Anniversary, and its historic and ongoing role in expanding African-American leadership in the nation's political and civic life.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center currently is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. To learn more, please visit www.jointcenter.org.
SOURCE Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies