Civil rights leader and two-time Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson (1941–) became one of the most influential African-Americans of the late 20th century. He rose to prominence working within Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and was at the Memphis hotel with King when he was assassinated. Through PUSH, the organization he founded in 1971, Jackson pressed for broader employment opportunities for African-Americans. During the 1980s and 1990s he negotiated the release of dozens of international hostages and prisoners. In his 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns, Jackson won 16 state contests and millions of votes, making him the first viable African-American candidate for president.