The Rev. Jesse Jackson was scheduled Saturday to reunite with the Navy lieutenant and former hostage whom he helped liberate from Syrian captivity 30 years ago, according to USA Today.
Jackson negotiated the release of Navy Lt. (now retired Commander) Robert Goodman on Jan. 4, 1984, after a month of captivity. It was the first in a series of actions that catapulted Jackson into the global spotlight as a diplomacy specialist. It also helped position his run for the U.S. presidency. Jackson was the second black American to launch a national campaign. The first was the late U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisolm, D-N.Y.
During a recent interview with USA Today, Jackson recalled that the Reagan administration was skeptical upon learning that he planned to negotiate for the release of Goodman, who was shot down while flying over Lebanon.
“President [Ronald] Reagan’s office said, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing. You could risk your situation,’ ” recalled Jackson, who led a delegation of ministers to the Middle East, USA Today reports. “We said, ‘The biggest risk is to stand there.’ Reagan said, ‘We can’t stop you from going, and if you can, then bring him back home.’ “
Jackson also said during the USA Today interview, “We felt that we had a moral obligation to go seek peace. I believe whenever a prisoner is released, it’s always an opportunity to seek peace.”
Read more at USA Today.