Home National Rev. Frederick Haynes III to take over Rainbow PUSH Coalition leadership from...

Rev. Frederick Haynes III to take over Rainbow PUSH Coalition leadership from Rev. Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III speaks onstage during an event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City in 2019. (Photo: Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The Rev. Frederick Douglass Haynes III became the president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition on Sunday, taking the helm from outgoing civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The official transfer of leadership took place, with Vice President Kamala Harris in attendance, at 2 p.m. CT during an event at the organization’s 57th annual conference, a release from Rainbow PUSH Coalition said.

Haynes, 62, has served as the senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas since 1983, growing the membership from 100 members to over 13,000, according to the church’s website. Under his leadership, the church founded the THR!VE Intern and Leadership Program, which employs young Black people with local businesses and the church – an effort that earned praise from then-President Barack Obama in a 2014 speech.

Haynes is “honored” to take on Jackson’s legacy, he said in a news release.

“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.”

Jackson, the 81-year-old founder and longtime head of the civil rights organization, announced plans to step down last week. In a Rainbow PUSH broadcast streamed on YouTube on July 8, Jackson said he will get a new president for the organization.

“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,” Jackson said.

CNN has reached out to Rainbow PUSH Coalition for comment.

President Joe Biden praised Jackson in a Sunday statement, thanking the civil rights giant.

“The promise of America is that we are all created equal in the image of God and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. While we’ve never fully lived up to that promise, we’ve never fully walked away from it because of extraordinary leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr,” Biden wrote.

“Whether on the campaign trail, on the march for equality, or in the room advocating for what is right and just, I’ve seen him as history will remember him: a man of God and of the people; determined, strategic, and unafraid of the work to redeem the soul of our nation,” the president added, invoking his signature saying.

“Jill and I are grateful to Reverend Jackson for his lifetime of dedicated service and extend our appreciation to the entire Jackson family. We look forward to working with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition as he hands the torch to the next generation of leadership, just as we will continue to cherish the counsel and wisdom that we draw from him,” Biden wrote.

A protégé of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Jackson in 1966 was chosen to head the Chicago branch of Operation Breadbasket, an organization that worked to improve the economic conditions of Black communities across the nation. A year later he was appointed national director.

In 1971, he formed Operation People United to Save Humanity (PUSH) in Chicago as another way to improve the economic conditions of Black communities. He founded the National Rainbow Coalition in 1986 with the goal of obtaining equal rights for all Americans.

The organizations merged in 1996. The coalition has provided more than $6.1 million in student scholarships and helped more than 4,000 families avoid foreclosure throughout its history, according to the organization’s website.

Jackson twice ran for president unsuccessfully in – 1984 and 1988 – and hosted the CNN show “Both Sides with Jesse Jackson” from 1992 to 2000.

The civil rights leader has had a series of health issues in recent years. He announced in 2017 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and he was hospitalized several times in 2021.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.