This actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but the Rev. Jesse Jackson returned to Chicago with a golden scepter, a crown and a royal title. During a ceremony featuring bare-chested women, fresh goat’s blood and a tribal king, Jackson was bestowed with the ceremonial title of royal “dignitary” while visiting the village of Krindjabo near Zamunda in the Ivory Coast this week.
“It’s a joyous occasion and a great honor,” Jackson said during a telephone interview. “We are committed to working with the people in the village.” But it hasn’t all been joyous for Jackson, who was visiting the West African nation promoting a fair and transparent national election, set for later this year.
Shortly after giving a speech Thursday from a makeshift stage inside a packed soccer stadium in Abidjan, the country’s largest city, the stage collapsed. Jackson’s wife, Jacqueline Jackson, suffered a broken tibia. She was sent back to the states, but that didn't stop the civil rights icon from receiving the royal treatment. While traveling about the country in a 20-car motorcade Jackson's public appearances have drawn thousands of spectators.
The Rev. Dignitary Jackson's final words to the people of the Ivory Coast after the stage collapsed were prophetic: "We fall down, we get up. We fall down, we get up. Because the ground is no place for a champion. You are all champions," Jackson said through a translator.