The “untold story” of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader and two-time U.S. presidential candidate, will be the subject of a film and limited series, plans for which were unveiled on Tuesday.
London-based production companies Expanded Media and Docsville Studios, whose founders’ credits include Man on Wire and Searching for Sugarman, said they would bring “one of the most important stories in the history of America and the Civil Rights Movement to the screen.” They added: “Through exclusive access to Reverend Jesse Jackson and his family – and 60 years of previously unseen family archive footage – this is the untold story of the incredible life of a major shining light for human rights around the world.”
His “personal story, in his own words,” will be directed by Shola Lynch, who is known for the documentaries Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed and Free Angela & All Political Prisoners. Jackson’s youngest son, Yusef, an attorney, entrepreneur and community advocate, will co-executive produce the untitled project.
“We are humbled and honored to partner with Expanded Media and Docsville Studios to help tell the story of his life and legacy, now 80 years in the making,” said Yusef Jackson. “Even after living most of his life in the public eye, there is so much of my father’s story and the work that he’s done to progress civil rights, social justice, public service and democracy around the world that is not widely known. We’re honored to finally have the opportunity to authentically share his story, our family’s story and how we fit into the landscape of our country’s biggest struggles and brightest victories over the last several decades.”
Added Francis Hopkinson, managing director at Expanded Media: “The Reverend Jesse Jackson has spent the last 60 years of his life advocating for social justice, and his leadership helped to create real change in addressing racism and discrimination. This film not only tells the story of the man, in his own words, but explores the personal backdrop of what his trailblazing meant for his family. That’s why it is such a unique and special film.”
And Docsville CEO Elman said: “There is no doubt that Jesse Jackson is one of the most influential people of all time. To be able to tell his story, in his own words, is a unique privilege, and we would like to thank the Reverend Jesse Jackson and his family for welcoming us into their lives. The huge amount of interest we have had in this project exemplifies how important this story is to the history of civil and human rights everywhere.”
“Despite his Parkinson’s, or maybe due to it, Jesse Jackson is going to slow down enough to talk through and reflect on his lifelong fight for racial and economic justice,” Lynch said about Jackson, who was born in 1941 in Greenville, South Carolina. “When others have been killed, moved on, or retired, Jackson has been tireless, even relentless.”
The project is a co-production between Expanded Media and Docsville Studios. Produced by Elman and William Keys, the executive producers are Francis Hopkinson and Ron Burkle for Expanded Media, Fraser and Simon Kilmurry for Docsville and Yusef Jackson for The Jackson Foundation. The film is backed by The Yucaipa Companies.