Jesse Jackson: Obama's election like Emancipation Proclamation
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday November 5, 2008

Print This  Email This

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson caught the attention of television cameras on Tuesday night when he was seen in the crowd at Barack Obama's victory celebration with tears streaming down his face.

Jackson told ABC's Robin Roberts on Wednesday morning that as he was crying, he was thinking about his father and how in World War II "they fought the Nazis in Europe and they came back home and had no rights," about his grandmother who couldn't read or write, and about "the martyrs" of the civil rights movement.

Jackson also noted that he hadn't gotten much sleep for the past two nights, because "it was almost like 1862, December 31, you knew the next day the Emancipation Proclamation would be signed and people couldn't sleep."

Jackson has caused his share of controversy over the course of the presidential campaign. In July, he had to apologize and reaffirm his support for Obama after being caught by an open mike whispering "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off."

However, on Tuesday that was all in the past. "Barack's so majestic," Jackson stated enthusiastically, calling him, "this young man who has done such a marvelous job, who in some sense mobilized the consciousness of the world."

"We're learning to embrace," Jackson said of his hopes for racial reconciliation. He cautioned that there is still "unfinished business" in poverty-stricken urban ghettos and barrios, but affirmed that Obama's promises to reinvest in America mean that "the substance is very connected with the hope."

Roberts finally asked Jackson about suggestions that his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., who was a co-chair of Obama's campaign, might be named to replace Obama as Illinois senator. "I'm not a part of that conversation -- and I approve that message," Jackson laughed

This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast November 5, 2008.

Download video via