The Rev. Jesse Jackson has stepped down from his presidential role with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, but the legendary civil rights activist is leaving the social justice organization in good hands.
The Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III is slated to become the next president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson handed over the reins to the Dallas luminary on Sunday with help from Vice Presidents Kamala Harris at the organization’s 57th annual conference.
In a press release, Haynes said he was “honored” to be carrying on Jackson’s incredible legacy. “As a student of Rev. Jackson’s, I am honored to be selected for this prestigious and important position,” Haynes said.
“The role Rainbow PUSH Coalition plays today is just as critical as it was in 1963 when the organization was founded. Our communities need organizations like Rainbow PUSH to not only continue the fight for justice and equality but to shepherd the next generation of advocates into the movement.”
Who is Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III?
Haynes, 62, has what it takes to follow in the civil rights icon’s legendary footsteps. Born in Dallas, the community leader and longtime pastor grew up watching his father Rev. Frederick D. Haynes Jr. lead a life of service. At a young age, Haynes and his family moved to San Francisco where he watched his father pastor at the historic Third Baptist Church.
According to his website, Haynes’ father led ministries that were “socially conscious and active in the community.”
His father’s passion for the church and commitment to community inevitability shaped his career as a young teen. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, Haynes continued his education at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and graduated with honors in 1982.
The dedicated leader went on to earn his Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary before he received his Doctor of Ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation. The educational feat gave him the opportunity to study at Christ Church, Oxford University in England.
Eventually, Haynes returned home to Dallas when he was offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the Senior Pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church. Under his leadership, Haynes played a vital role in the church’s astronomical growth and expansion. The devout pastor grew the church’s membership from 100 members to over 13,000.
Leadership has been a top priority for the passionate clergyman throughout his career. Haynes founded the THR!VE Intern and Leadership Program at Friendship-West to help employ young Black teens. During the program’s first year, the pastor was able to employ nearly 100 young black males between the ages of 16-19. The program has since expanded and now strives to employ both young men and women. Haynes works closely with local businesses and churches to ensure that all members of the program are compensated a fair rate for their work, as they receive life-changing skills through their mentors and community service.
In addition to THR!VE, Rev. Haynes also serves in various leadership roles with several organizations that advocate for community and social transformation. In 2003, he founded the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference alongside Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. and Dr. Iva E. Carruthers. The annual conference is a national organization of pastors, activists, and community leaders committed to social justice by nurturing, sustaining and mobilizing the African American faith community. Members of the conference collaborate with civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to address critical needs of human and social injustice within local, national and global communities. Dr. Haynes also serves on the board of the Conference of National Black Churches and the National Action Network.
In 2016, the Baptist pastor was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. He was also honored with the President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Presidential Lifetime Achievement Leadership Award for his dedication to community service.
On July 8, Rev. Jesse Jackson announced his plans to step down as president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition during a live stream broadcast. “We had a board meeting last week. I’m going to make a transition pretty soon. I’ve been doing this stuff for 64 years. I was 18 years old. I’m going to get a new president for Rainbow PUSH Coalition,” the freedom fighter said. In 1986, the South Carolina native founded the National Rainbow PUSH Coalition to help marginalized communities fight for equal rights.
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