November 5, 2008
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR


   

REVEREND JESSE JACKSON SAYS HIS TEARS FOR
“MARTYRS AND MURDERED WHOSE BLOOD MADE LAST NIGHT POSSIBLE”
ON NPR NEWS TELL ME MORE TODAY

EXCERPTS BELOW; AUDIO AVAILABLE AT NPR.org

NPR ELECTION PRESSROOM: www.npr.org/about/press/Election2008_PressBox.html



November 5, 2008; Washington, D.C. – In an interview airing today on the NPR news and talk show Tell Me More, Reverend Jesse Jackson says that the reason for his much-televised tears last night were: “twofold: his [Senator Barack Obama’s] ascension into leadership, and the price that was paid to get him there.” The complete interview with Jackson, who is joined by former NAACP board chair Myrlie Evers-Williams, is available in its entirety at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96645057

When asked about the reason for his tears, Jackson says: “Well, on the one hand, I saw President Barack Obama standing there looking so majestic. And I knew that people in the villages of Kenya and Haiti, and mansions and palaces in Europe and China, were all watching this young African-American male assume the leadership to take our nation out of a pit to a higher place. And then, I thought of who was not there. As mentioned, Medgar Evers, the husband of Sister Myrlie. …So the martyrs and murdered whose blood made last night possible. I could not help think that this was their night. And if I had one wish: if Medgar, or if Dr. King could have just been there for a second in time, would have made my heart rejoice. And so it was kind of twofold – his ascension into leadership and the price that was paid to get him there.”

On how he sees his role, and the role of the Civil Rights Movement, going forward, Jackson says: “Well, in some sense to play the role of conscience, to play the role of supporter. Dr. King fervently supported Kennedy over Nixon. We still had to march for a public accommodations bill. He supported President Johnson over Goldwater. We still had to march for the right to vote. And now when Mr. Barack Obama gets to Washington, there’ll be competition for his attention. And so the Civil Rights Movement must make its presence felt. And the labor movement. And the women’s movement.”

All excerpts must be credited to NPR News Tell Me More. Television usage must include on-screen credit with NPR logo. Complete audio of the interview is available at: www.npr.org/tellmemore

Tell Me More brings fresh voices and perspectives to public radio. The daily hour-long program hosted by Michel Martin captures the headlines, issues and pleasures relevant to multicultural life in America. It is a production of NPR News in association with the African American Public Radio Consortium, representing 22 independent public radio stations that serve predominantly black communities. For stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org