The following is a transcript of a speech by the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, July 28, 2004:
Tonight the pendulum swings from pain to possibilities. From hurt to hope.
Darkness to light. The line of progress is unbroken:
1944: My father's generation served in the war - duty without honor.
1954: 335 years of legal race supremacy was ended. Brown versus Board of
1964: Dr. King. The Public Accommodations bill. Fannie Lou Hamer knocking
on the door at Atlantic City.
1984: The first Rainbow presidential campaign in San Francisco.
2004: Barak Obama symbolizes the line of progress and growth.
These movements enabled Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton
to be great.
In 1984 a generation of youth - Mayor Kilpatrick of Detroit, Congressman
Harold Ford, Congressman Jackson, Junior, Congressman Lee, Congressman Meeks,
Alicia Reece, and Reverend Al Sharpton, Congressman Bobby Rush, and Senator
Tony Hill of Florida. Senator Paul Wellstone. Seeds sown are now bearing
fruit. The pendulum swings, the morning cometh.
In the darkness of 2000, the winners lost and the losers won. Jewish
voters in West Palm Beach, immigrants stopped at the polls, a million black
votes cast, but not counted. Pain.
In the dark, our nation's record budget surplus turned into a $500 billion
deficit. In the dark, a net loss of jobs in every state. The ignored genocide
in the Sudan, and the induced coup in Haiti. And yet, as the darkness abounds,
hope abounds even more. For the 44 million people without health care
insurance, help is on the way. For parents too afraid to call a doctor for
their children because they do not know how to pay the bills, help is on the
way. For our seniors, whose Social Security is at risk and who must choose
between paying their rent or paying for the soaring costs of their
prescription drugs, help is on the way.
This president speaks of leaving no child behind, but leaves 2 million
children behind to protect the tax cut for the top 1%. Millions of youth today
cannot afford college tuition and cannot find a job. Every child in America
deserves a Constitutional Right to an Equal High Quality Education. Yes: Hope
cometh in the morning.
In the dark, a president chooses tax cuts for millionaires but job cuts
for steel and auto workers, firefighters and police. A president who talks of
homeland security but wants to let AK-47's and Uzi's back on the street.
Hope cometh in the morning for the children of Appalachia, for coal miners
dying of black lung disease every six hours.
Hope cometh in the morning, for our children who were sent to war in Iraq
with bad intelligence and worse leadership. Sent to fight for a foreign policy
that is foreign to our values and leaves us weaker and less secure. Sent to
war in Iraq where words of mass deception are more apparent than weapons of
mass destruction. It's a moral disgrace, I tell you. A moral disgrace. A moral
disgrace. America, we deserve better. Hope, cometh in the morning.
But a new day is dawning. A new America turning pain into power. Beyond
the extreme right wing is a beautiful rainbow of all of God's children. Out of
the darkness of the bushes, we see the soaring of an authentic American eagle
on the horizon. Hope cometh in the morning.
When I campaigned for John Kerry's Senate campaign in 1996, he was
resolved in his convictions, cool under fire. Dr. King said you measure the
character of leaders in the fire of crisis. John Kerry stood in the valleys
and the shadow of death in the Mekong Delta. Though wounded, he got away. A
lesser man might say, "I'm lucky," and speed away. When he heard comrades had
fallen, he led his men back through the Delta to save them. When courage and
duty called, he said, "Send me." John Kerry had the faith and knew God had the
In the exalted realm of valor under fire, in this campaign of courage and
faith and leadership and honor, John Kerry stands alone, a beacon of hope who
will make America stronger, safer, and a more secure America, who will restore
the values that make America great. John Kerry sees a new America through a
door, not a key hole.
With studied intellect and keen insight, he saw talent and strength in
John Edwards -- a man whose journey is the best of American folklore. He
inherited little, but worked hard and earned much, embodying hope and
inspiration. He dares to stand in the gap between rich and poor, black and
white, urban and rural -- a vision of a new America.
The Bible speaks of the difficulties of rich young rulers getting into the
Kingdom. It's because they are intoxicated by the rarified air of privilege.
John Edwards understands using wallpaper for a windbreaker. Peanut butter
sandwiches and Kool-Aid. The fear of winter without heat. He grew up on the
edge but now stands at the middle of reconciling the breach in our nation.
John Kerry and John Edwards will reinvest in America and put America back
to work. They represent hope and healing for a new America. John Kerry and
John Edwards will fight for health care for all. John Kerry and John Edwards
will fight for our environment and civil rights.
Hope cometh in the morning. In 96 days dark clouds roll away. Children
can rejoice. Lady Liberty will be unmasked and unshackled. We can sing again:
My country 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my
fathers died. Land of the Pilgrim's pride. From every mountainside, let
freedom ring. She can sing that song again. The shackles will leave her arms.
She can stretch forth in all of her splendor, free of crippling civil rights
and liberties. She can proclaim again, "Give me your tired, give me your
poor, your huddled masses who yearn to breathe free," come November.
Let eagles fly to Washington. It's time to bring our troops home from
Iraq and send Bush home to Texas. And it's time to send John Kerry and John
Edwards to the White House this November.
Keep Hope Alive.
Thank you very much.
Text of Rev. Jesse Jackson's speech
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
Los Angeles Times welcomes civil dialogue about our stories; you must register with the site to participate. We filter comments for language and adherence to our Terms of Service, but not for factual accuracy. By commenting, you agree to these legal terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.
Having technical problems? Check here for guidance.