David Masciotra - "I Am Somebody" - Delmarie L. Cobb

Saturday, October 28, 2023 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
David Masciotra

David Masciotra will discuss his new book, I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters. He will be joined in conversation by Delmarie L. Cobb. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

This event will be held in person at The Seminary Co-op.


About the book: There are few figures and leaders of recent American history of greater social and political consequence than Jesse Jackson, and few more relevant for America's current political climate. In the 1960s, Jackson served as a close aide to Dr. Martin Luther King, meeting him on the notorious march to legitimate the American democratic system in Selma. He was there on the day of King's assassination, and continued his political legacy, inspiring a generation of Black and Latino politicians and activists, founding the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and helping to make the Democratic Party more multicultural and progressive with his historic runs for the presidency in the 1980s.

In I Am Somebody, David Masciotra argues that Jackson's legacy must be rehabilitated in the history of American politics. Masciotra has had personal access to Jackson for several years, conducting over one hundred 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 committed to racial and economic justice, this is a critical book for understanding where America in the 21st Century has come from and where it is going.

About the author: David Masciotra is the author of six books, including Exurbia Now: The Battleground of American Democracy (forthcoming, Melville House Books), I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters, and Mellencamp: American Troubadour. A journalist, political analyst, and arts critic, he has written for the New Republic, Salon, Progressive, Washington Monthly, No Depression, and many other publications about politics, literature, and music. He teaches at Indiana University Northwest.

About the Interlocutor: With over two decades of experience, Delmarie L. Cobb is a veteran journalist, a renowned trailblazer, and a fierce advocate for underserved communities. Her most notable accomplishments include being the first African-American to serve as press secretary of the Democratic National Convention in 1996, serving as the national traveling press secretary to presidential candidate Jesse Jackson in 1988, helping orchestrate the congressional campaign victory of then Alderman Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson Jr., and serving as the Illinois press secretary for Hillary Clinton's historic presidential bid in 2016. Cobb runs her own venture, The Publicity Works, a Chicago-based, public affairs, political consulting, and media relations firm. To pass on her wealth of experience and knowledge, she founded the Ida B. Wells Legacy Committee, a political action committee whose purpose is to develop the next generation of progressive African-American women candidates who are willing to speak truth to power and work in the best interests of their constituents, keep voters informed, and engage political activists around public policy decisions.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637