Interview with Jesse Jackson

Well, Tell me the story about Mondale coming to town. REV.


In, in route to Harold's victory there was a, a sense finally that we could win. We didn't have the money. I mean, Byrne had the money and, and Daley had the favor of many. And yet Harold was a third, was a long shot, ah, he didn't have the money but he had the skill and the will to work and we were on a roll. We had momentum. We heard that, that Ted Kennedy was coming to town to support Jane Byrne and Mondale was coming to town to support Daley. So, I called fifty leaders around the country. I got Willie Brown and Maxine Waters and congressional caucus members to appeal to them. They were for the liberal, progressive agenda. Here was Harold, a Democratic Congressman, and don't validate[SIC] us in this way and they said, We have to come because we made these commitments. Well, that was a sense that we had been abandoned by liberals, that somehow liberators had to meet liberals. And if they, if, if the most progressive liberals, Mondale and Kennedy had this disregard for what the Chicago movement meant, we can only change that by becoming their peers. That meant someone had to begin to run against them in the primaries and function at their level of party politics. Well, I began to raise the question that a Black ought to run. It was far from my mind, running. Because if I had had politics on my mind, at that time, for myself, and Harold ran for mayor, I would have been considering running for his job as congressperson. But that was not really on my mind. I was still protesting to open the system up and I kept raising it and of course it, it was met with a certain amount of contempt. Aw, be serious, who can run? Who is qualified? I said, somebody should run. Well, I met with Andy Young three times. I tried to convince Andy to run. Andy had just become mayor. He said, Well, ah, I don't want to do it. I don't think it would work. I said, Andy, someone needs to do it. I met with Maynard Jackson twice. Maynard had, had, was not out of, ah, politics. He was into business. He was credible. He was articulate. He had all of the, the right stuff and he wouldn't do it. I kept raising the proposition. It became a part of national debate. Should someone do it or should they not? At some point, Run Jesse Run, began to emerge. I wanted to pull back but I couldn't because it would have, it would have appeared as if I had been insincere that I was playing with the people. I was not playing but I was not talking about myself. I had made almost no preparation to run but then somebody had to run so it was out of that context of fighting for Harold and fighting against liberal contempt that my own candidacy emerged out of this crucible, out of this process**.


Stop down. Very good, thank you.