Author David Masciotra: I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters

Author David Masciotra appeared to discuss his new book on the life and legacy of a Chicago icon, Reverend Jesse Jackson, I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters.

Masciotra spent six years interviewing Rev. Jackson, travelling with him, and observing his work up close before writing the book. Masciotra has had personal access to Jackson for several years, conducting over 100 interviews with the man himself, as well as interviews with a wide variety of elected officials and activists who Jackson has inspired and influenced. It also takes readers inside Jackson's negotiations for the release of hostages and political prisoners in Cuba, Iraq, and several other countries. As Democratic politics sees a return to radicalism and the rise of a new generation of committed advocates of racial and economic justice, I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters is a critical book for understanding where America in the 21st Century has come from and where it is going. 

Rev. Jackson recently said that it is "the best and most thorough thing ever written about my work."

David Masciotra is the author of five books, including I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters and Mellencamp. He has written for Salon, the Atlantic, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. He teaches English at Indiana University Northwest.

This event was presented as part of Chicago Public Library's celebrations of the life and legacy of Mayor Harold Washington, a man who influenced many people, including Reverend Jesse Jackson.