Interview with Jackie
When did you meet?
I met him at A & T College in my freshman year. And how did I feel about
him? He was, let's say, he was quite charming at that time. A little charming
now after 32 years.
It was a rainy afternoon and in order to get into the Student Union
Building, you had to walk through the football players who had assembled
themselves in a line on both sides of the sidewalk. So, because there was mud
on both sides, the grass had been trampled down by most of the students, you
had to walk through this line and you had to hear the cat calls and you had to
hear the whistles and, I think it's the torture they put all freshmen's
through. And, at that time, I was a freshman.
But I was prepared for them because the more they whistled and the more
they made cat calls, the more I did my Marilyn Monroe twist. You know, the
little sway when you walk. And it didn't bother me. But I think my husband
stood out because of his comment.
He looked at me and he said, 'Hey girl, I'm going to marry you' -- which
totally offended me because at that time, I had no interest in being tied down
with children and a family and a responsibility. And strangely enough, you
know, he did that. He did marry me. It shocked me. It shocked me.
Well, of course, it was amusing. I went back to the dorm and shared it
with some of my friends and they laughed also. And I started running from that
moment on, every time I saw him, I headed for the hills. And I don't know why
he made me so nervous but he did. I guess because that was as bold as anyone
has ever been toward me or with me. And my mother's shared that feeling about
Jesse Jackson with me. She said he's the boldest man she's ever met.
He has an enthusiasm--let me see, how can I best describe that enthusiasm.
It's an infectious enthusiasm. He excites and incites and, you know, it's an
emotional experience with him. You listen and you notice, you notice him. And
you think about whatever he shares with you.
I mean, he's the center of my life. Yes. Yes. Center of my life. The
good and the bad. He's the center. It's because of him.
Whatever it is, it's because of him. And we have a little thing in the
house, you know, when we ask, 'Who did it,' we say, the kids say daddy did it.
And I say 'Jesse did it.' So he's very much the center. And he's grown
accustomed to being that.
It was his behavior that I was attracted to. It wasn't his style, you know,
because he's kind of country. He's from South Carolina.
He had a religious background. When I did see him, he would ask me, when
had I been to church? Which I felt wasn't his business. He would ask me about
my classes and he would say certain little things like--'Let me share it with
you. You have humanities at 8:30 in the morning. I stopped by your class to
see you and you weren't there. What time do you normally come to class?'
Which I thought was just a little too much. And I didn't want to say I go late
to avoid you. But, he was just kind of curious about my behavior. He went to
work in the office at the school and he came back to share with me my grades.
To tell me that I had to do better and that I had to be in my classes. Which I
just felt him to be overbearing. You know. He was just too much.
And we fought all the time.
I guess really it was his desire for me to be just the very best that I
could be. And I wanted to do what I wanted to do. And he took a special
interest in my behavior and he tried to help me. In turn, I think I liked that
about him but he not only did that with me, he did it with my friends. He
could tell them about their grades too. And what they should be doing.
He said, I think, 'Mark Twain said a person who doesn't have a sense of
humor, I do not trust.' So I have a marvelous sense of humor, especially about
my husband and so does he. But when we met, he would often take me to dinner
and I mean, you would not, you couldn't have met a man more courteous than this
man. He would pull the seat out and he would slide it under me and I would sit
there and eat. And he ordered all the splendid meals--duck.
And so I was a little shy about ordering something because I knew he didn't
have that much money. But I think the most amazing thing about my husband is
after we married, I discovered he doesn't like fancy foods. He loves
home-cooked meals, home-cooked meals. And the worst thing that can happen is,
and I stopped him from pulling the seats out for me because twice he did it,
twice he pulled the seat out for me and he turned to shake someone's hand. And
so when I went to sit, I sat on the floor because he forgot to push it back
under me because he was shaking hands. So no more seats to be pulled.
So we had a big fight about that because it was an embarrassing experience
But we've now made an adjustment for little things that he doesn't do and
things I try to compensate, you know, so I try to say Jesse, people are
watching, now remember the seat. Because if someone says, 'Hey Jesse' -- I'm
on the floor.
What aspects of him appealed?
It was so many things. He's a real warm guy. Real nice, a nice human
being. He wears his emotions on his sleeves. He's a poor actor. What you see
of him is basically what you get. And those are some of the feelings, with men,
basically men are pompous or they're so proud, they don't weep, they lack a lot
of expressions. I find that you don't have to say certain things to Jesse
Jackson, you can just look at him and you see it. You see if he's sad. You
see if he's enthusiastic or happy about something. So I'd like to be able to
see his emotions
I think he's discovered that when he exposes his emotions, he is
unprotected. We're all vulnerable when people see our hearts and so we try
oftentimes to conceal it, just to protect it.
He wears his feelings on his sleeves, on his cuffs. You can see it. And I
guess that's what I meant by his innocence. Most people, those of us who are
not innocent, we have so many walls to pierce. And feelings and raw. You feel
the edge of his feelings
Jesse Jackson, when I met him, he had an innocence about him which is
still very much a part of him today. That innocence, if I were to attempt to
explain it, because the reason why I'm having trouble trying to explain
innocence is because it's just one word and we're talking about a whole person.
We're talking about one who is involved in politics, finances, many things.
He was very sharing. His mother would drive up to A&T and she would
have a trunk full of pies. And he would come to my dorm and he would tell me,
my mother's coming up this weekend so I want you to meet me under the tree. It
was a tree at A&T, I can't remember the kind. So I would have to meet him
under this tree because his mother would drive up and she would have these pies
and he would want me to have them as fresh as possible.
And she would share his pies with me. I think it was about six. And I
would get one. One little pie. And I would take it back to the dorm and share
it with my friends. And at that time, money was extremely scarce. And I think
she would leave him with something like $5 which was much more than I had. And
he would give me a dollar of his money too, and he would tell me, you're not to
buy cigarettes from the canteen. You're not, he would organize this
Now, today, a dollar isn't much for most people. But it was an awful lot
and he was the kindest man I had ever met. Because he shared his pie and his
dollar with me. So I would call my mother and tell her, oh, I just saw Jesse
and his mother and she brought him some sweet potato pies and some chicken. I
didn't want the chicken. But he gave me a pie. And that was a big deal during
that day. And my friends would go all over the dorm and tell everybody.
Jesse's mother came, drove up, and she brought him some pies and he shared it
with Jackie. And gave me a dollar.
When Jesse Jackson decided that he was serious about marrying me because,
well, this was an exciting part of my life, most exciting part of my life,
because he pursued me. And I feel so sorry for the young people today who are
not pursued by one who cares. And he was in charge of the Omega line for that
particular, I don't know if you call it a session or what, but when the boys
went on the line, he was responsible for them.
And, I think it was twice a week, they would come under my window and they
would sing these wonderful hit songs of that day. They would sing, 'Mr.
Postman, look and see if there's a letter for me.' Just, all, Smokey Robinson
songs, it was just wonderful.
I find Jesse Jackson to be religiously, progressively old fashioned.
On Sunday mornings, he would often call me and insist that I go to church
with him or join with my friends in church. What one must understand, during my
first year at A&T, Vesper was mandatory. You had to go to the Vesper
Service every Sunday morning. Well, after the first year, no one does that any
more. And at that time I was a sophomore and I did not think it was necessary
for me to go to church every Sunday because I had been made to go to church
every Sunday and every Wednesday all my life by my mother. So, by the time I
went to college I felt that I was to have a break. But he didn't. He felt that
I was supposed to continue this routine. So we used to fight a lot about that
after church. When he discovered I didn't go, and he had gone.
So then he decided that he would watch me.
He would call my room and he would tell my roommate that he was coming to
pick me up for church and, so because I was a lax of going to church, he
decided that it was his responsibility to take me to church. Now, that did not
mean after we went to church that we didn't go out to eat and we'd go to a
dance that evening.
I would hide from him because I didn't want to go. I didn't think I had to
do this the rest of my life. But I go now. I go now to church now less than
he goes. He's still a faithful churchgoer. I'm not boasting when I say this.
But I don't feel terrible about it because I try to live a Christian life and a
My husband was so concerned about my grades and my involve[ment] in school, I
think it was in my humanities class that we were told that we could write a
paper of our choice about any subject that we wanted. And I chose why I felt
Red China should be seated at the U.N.
And my husband came to me and told me that I was going to get into a lot of
trouble and I shouldn't go around starting up trouble because I was writing
about a communist country. And this country goes crazy when you begin to talk
about seating a communist group up in New York.
So we fought about that. I told him, I think I chose the best topic because
I really wanted to write about my support for Fidel and Che Gueverra in Cuba.
Since Batista had done all these things to tear up Cuba, etc. Oh, now that was
even worse. So he accepted the paper about why Red China should be seated to
the U.N. as an acceptable piece over and against my concern for Fidel and Che
As a result of submitting that paper, it created quite a stir in the room
and people became conscious of foreign affairs and America in the 60's was
about to begin to live. Everything prior to that was on paper. You know, our
ideals. Now we had to live what we preached. And America began to think and I
was excited to be a part of that era
When did he tell you about his family?
He came to me one day and we were talking about what do you call it, high
brows and low brows. And the difference in people and the attitudes and the
color problem in the Black community, the class problem in the Black community.
And he said, and I'm a bastard and I said, 'And I'm one too. And I thought most
people were one.' Because I'd never heard of all of the tension surrounding
legitimacy and alleged illegitimacy. I've always thought that was, is something
that insecurity made, they made people illegitimate and made others legitimate.
Made some better and some less than other people. And I had never been brought
up to understand that, nor had I heard that.
So I was very interested in his story when he shared it with me. And I
think he liked me and enjoyed me when I fired back at him-- 'Well isn't
everyone?' You know, who knows who your father really is. You know. Isn't
everyone? I think you have to kind of accept that approach or you become quite
confused trying to sort adult matters out.
I think he wanted to know my opinion. Whether I would condescend or
whether I felt that there were special people and people who were not so
special. Some people who were more privileged because they were light-skinned
or had more money. I've been taught that character counts. It's your values
that will determine your position in life. Not your money and not who your
parents are or were.
I think there was still some tension in South Carolina as a result of his
birth. Some things that were not resolved that created some pain. I made that
pain insignificant. Who his father is or was or may happen to be made no
difference to me. And if you examine most of my friends, if you would ask
them, I feel that way about most people including you.
I contend that when we interact or when we meet, I assume no responsibility
for any problems you had prior to my relationship with you. I hope that as I
engage myself with you, that I will make your life better.
And all people with that attitude. That when we meet, it is our beginning.
And I assume no responsibility for anything that has happened prior to my
presence in your life.
I believe he likes the way I think about things, my perspective because I
have an uncanny way of kind of sorting things out and getting to the bottom of
things. I think having five children helped me to do that.
Did you share an idealism, something in common while at
Well.... It's kind of contradictory. You're sent there to leave behind the
small in order to obtain something much greater than the small towns and the
small communities that you're leaving. And yet, the contradiction is that no
one wants to be left behind. You're to create something large from these small
So when I thought about being with Jesse Jackson, I didn't think about
abandoning -- I think that's a better word -- our past. But we were given an
opportunity to make a difference in the world. We were basically raised
unselfishly. We are to bring things back to the community or create a new
community. That was our responsibility and obligation when we left home. To
bring something big back. Something new and you're to be a better person when
And it doesn't mean physically returned. You're supposed to change and make
things better for other people. Those who are back home. How could we do that?
We had to join with people and forces who were making a change.
So Jesse and I saw this as our obligation when we went to A&T. We
couldn't disappoint the people back home by returning as a dependent on society
or them. We had to go out and make a difference. So we thought alike. And
first, that's what we agreed on. We had a meeting of the heart and the mind.
There was not an enormous amount of passion as you would see it today on
television. We were very serious young people, very directed, very goal-
oriented and very responsible for not only our families, but for our country.
We were - are - a part of a bigger thought and idea and society.
That society not only includes just little old Greenville, South Carolina
and little old Newport News, but that also includes today China, the Middle
East, and the world. And we went together. And we went together. And we're
still going. And I'm having a ball.
I see it from the middle--I often tell people--which is reflective of my
attitude about life when I was born and raised for a while in Fort Pierce,
Florida, I wore no shoes because we couldn't afford them. Now, I don't wear
them by choice. So, I can kind of look at the world from the middle now. And
appreciate that perspective. I don't like seeing the world from the top.
Because I think the top is kind of full of it. It's pompous. It's routine.
We do it this way because we've been doing it like this forever and it's time
to change. I like looking at it from the middle. It's more
He insisted that I marry him. Why did I marry Jesse Jackson. I really
like that guy. And when people ask me about him after all these years, 32
years, I still blush. You know, the thought makes me blush. He's a very
exciting person and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this exciting
person. He's an extraordinary human being.
He's not always right, now. Don't get me wrong. And we do fight. We [are] in
a fight now. He keeps my adrenalin up. And flowing and moving around the
block and making U-turns. I like him. I knew when we left A&T. I knew when
I met him that he was going to be the most exciting person in this country. I
knew it then. I knew it then. I knew it. And I knew that I would be the
second most interesting in this, in this country. I knew it then.
And we talked about things that we wanted to do. And where we wanted to go.
And we were and still are adventurers.
He wanted to work in the movement which he did. And he never spoke of a
job per se. We only talked about the changes we wanted to see occur and what
we wanted to see people do or become. We didn't talk about houses and cars. As
I remember. I don't ever remember seeing him ever tell me that we would have a
Cadillac or we would have a Mercedes. I don't ever remember. We would live on
a hill. We never said things like that. But we talked about what we, where we
were going to go and one day we would go to Africa. And one day we would go to
Japan and see the Great Wall of China. These are things we talked about doing
-- never materialistic things about owning this or that.
We always talked about big things or a speaker who was coming into town or
who was going to be in New York. Going there to see Adam Clayton Powell.
That's what we talked about.
And what about the movement when it started... for him, for
He came to me one day because during the years of the movement at A&T,
Jesse came to me and said, the students are being arrested and it's getting
very hostile downtown. The people are becoming quite hostile. And I think I'm
going to be arrested and I wanted you to know about it before you read or hear
And what I think you should do is not go on the marches because we need
some people around who can keep people in touch and share with them what is
happening downtown. And I'll be communicating with you.
Well, that was the first time I saw the just overwhelming kind of
responsibility that Jesse Jackson could handle. Because I have to stop a
moment to just try to share this with you.
You think in terms of marches when you watch them from television as being
something with the leader out there for the welfare of people when there's so
much hostility around. And I think it was at that point that Jesse Jackson
gained my respect as a human being because he assumed the responsibility for
the health and the welfare of the students whom he loved from our
So when he went on to be arrested, and he called to share it with me and
the media, I think it's difficult for me to talk about that because it was a
sad time for me because I was young and very frightened and I didn't get the
picture at that time. So trying to assemble the thoughts and the feelings was
kind of difficult for me.
We were children. Very young people. I think I was no more than 18. And I
think he was about 21. We were dealing with angry white adults. And it
wasn't a very pleasant kind of experience.
Because you had those forces who were totally economically dependent on
favors and jobs from within this society and they were pulling against you.
Many were pulling against you. Some were not. And yet you were a student and
a child and your stay at school was in jeopardy. You could be
And that would be disappointing for your family that you were thrown out of
school for this. So there was a lot of decisions to be made. And he made the
right decisions and he chose to be with the students.
He took on his own identity in Greensboro and from there he was made a man
and able to move forward and do what he is doing today. Working with people
and uplifting and changing the quality of the life for most people. A fire was
already lit from Greenville, but he began to live, he became a man in
Greensboro. It is my opinion.
On the way to the University of Chicago, we stopped by Newport News,
Virginia to pick up some of my things and we were on our way in a little
Corvair that was used, terribly used. And we had attached a U-haul to the back
and I had my daughter Santita and it was so terribly hot that summer that we
took a bag of ice, because we had no air condition in the car, and placed it in
a plastic bag and set it on the floor so when the heat from the car passed, it
would blow on the ice so that was our ice condition, that was our air
conditioner. That was Jesse Jackson's suggestion. He was quite
And we drove to Chicago, although we had a minor little setback in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The car wouldn't make it up the hill. So my husband
didn't have a dime. We had no money. I think we only had enough for gas or we
no longer had any money because he had used it. I don't know. We were short
on money and we had to have the car repaired. There was a wonderful man who
happened to be white in Pittsburgh who fixed our car for nothing.
The reason I stop to share that with you, we met this man about 30 years
later. We were in Pittsburgh for something and he came to us and told us that
he was the one who had repaired our car that time we were travelling to
It was a rough time for a while....Fool that I am, I never worried. I never
worried. I made a decision to work with what I had and not complain about it.
So I learned to sew. I learned to cook very well for not only my family, but
my friends. I never worried about money because we were taught in the movement
that that was secondary. It was about life and living and being with God
everything will be all right. And I still believe that.
And I remember--although we are talking about a time prior to our
involvement, total commitment to Martin Luther King--but we were having babies
so fast and he was on at that time, a staff member of SCLC and I think he
received $75 a week which was a lot of money for us. And I was having children
so fast, so Martin Luther King came over to our place and he saw that I was
pregnant again. And he said, 'Jesse, boy, I'm going to have to give you a raise
so you can buy you a television so you can find something else to do.'
Now, I didn't like that at all. But my friends kept saying, oh Jesse he's
going to have babies coming out of the chimney. But we wanted our family
quickly. I guess that's what you can say today. We had them right behind each
other. I'm glad. I'm really glad for that.
Dr. Martin Luther King
He was overwhelmed. He was deeply moved by Dr. King. He was deeply moved
and it changed his life. Another phase in the life of Jesse Jackson. Things
changed as of that day.
He wanted to work with him. He had talked with him. And he felt that this
was a rare opportunity that he would have to work closely with Dr. King and he
had already accepted. He did not, there wasn't any delay in, I'll talk it over,
let me think about it. He accepted it. And he began immediately to think
about things he could do to help him.
The days just before King's assassination.
My husband told me that he had to go to Memphis because he had been on a
conference call with Dr. King and Dr. King sounded very down and he wasn't
feeling good about the activities there and he was requesting that all staff
members drop everything that they were doing and come to Memphis so he had to
go to Memphis that evening.
While there in Memphis, he called me and he said there were some
troublemakers and they were creating some kind of tension there for Martin
Luther King and that Dr. King was very concerned about this group of
individuals who did not support his non-violence stands.
I saw on television that this group when Martin was trying to march, that
this group was coming down one side of the street and the others were coming
from another it appeared. And they were shouting some things. But he called
me late one evening and he said, Jackie, Dr. King has been shot. And I want to
tell you before you get the news on the television. But he is dead.
Well, I said, what do we do now. He said, I don't know. But there's a lot
going on down here. And I don't understand any of it. The SCLC people don't
want to talk to the press until they've met and tried to restructure the group
and reorganize it. And then he start again, and he said, Jackie, Dr. King is
And I think he kept saying it to make himself understand that. But he was
thinking that he was saying it to make me understand it. Which I didn't
understand at all at the time.
I feel as if I'm getting a little older and a little softer because during
that time I was much stronger than I am now when I talk about these painful
things because I felt the responsibility to be strong and hold on and I guess,
and now, at 51, I feel it's ok for me to become upset when I speak of it. So I
apologize to you because I don't feel good about talking about this.
A lot of pain. Yes he did. He told me that. But Reverend, my husband
emphasized the pain prior to the [King] speech. The speech was mystical. He
was in rare form were the words I remember from the conversation. He lifted
the crowd. He was powerful. As if to suggest now everything is going to be all
right. Memphis is going to turn around because this is the spirit that you
need. This is the crowd that you need to make Memphis a successful
But it was lifting that night because, you know, our emotions in Memphis,
it was much like a yo-yo. It was up one day, down the next, up one day. Very
I met him at the airport that night after Memphis. And, my husband's eyes
were kind of deep-set. You know, I could tell he had been up for quite some
time. And he was wearing this shirt that was bloodstained. And I didn't ask
him about it then because it was a moment the press met him also, and when we
were going to get in the car, was really a silence. Who's going to speak
first. You know, because I didn't have the words to say. And he didn't know
what to say. And it was too much of an experience to share in a car.
So I remember that we were very silent. And when he came home, he got in
the bed with his shoes on and the shirt. And he just laid in the bed. He told
me he had to speak at City Hall or something the following day. I don't know
the course of events now. I'm just trying to share with you what I can
It seemed, seemingly forever. It was quite some time. And my husband,
likes cologne and everything and he didn't wash. His behavior was abnormal.
He was down. He was depressed. And he told me, 'I'll never take this shirt
off.' And I thought that was, I didn't ask because the blood after it begins
to dry, it looks funny. It did. You don't know what it is. You know, since he
had come from Memphis, I did not know it was blood. But I knew it was a nasty
stain and you shouldn't want to wear that shirt. Looking like that. But when
he said, you know, this is Martin's blood.
And he had the shirt on and he kept the shirt on.
About three days, four days, five days to a week. I know it was a long
time to walk around in the same clothing. And he just didn't have the ability
to move beyond it. And it was very painful for him and for me also. Because
the assassination in Memphis, we physically lost one individual. But actually,
we lost many lives there. And a portion of my husband's life and many of the
members of SCLC remained on that balcony in Memphis.
Many of us were left there on that balcony. Where do we go from here.
Martin's words. And just going over and over again, repeatedly, what would
Martin want us to do now? What did he want us to do?
That forced us into some reality -- this is over -- he is no longer
physically here. We cannot let those who are enemies to peace, enemies to our
movement and the changes that we want, we cannot allow them to win. And if we
don't pick ourselves up, they would have won. They will have won I should
I think our time stopped and it began. It ended in Memphis. And it began
in Memphis. Because were totally dependent on Dr. King. And all of a sudden,
the movement was our responsibility.
We realized that we had to transfer that Southern feeling that had been
created through SCLC to the north, and we could not rely on Martin Luther King
any more to assist us, it meant that we had to begin to teach them about
non-violence. I think we began with small little things. For example,
embracing. Every greeting became an embrace.
My house was like a commune from the 60's and 70's. People come into the city
and stay a year at my house. Or, it was like a big hotel. And after the
community forums, people would stop after the forum or the community meeting,
they would come to my house. I had a picnic table -- I don't know who made
the specific piece of furniture but it was a picnic table with a bench, with
benches. And people found it extremely warm and I've always had a house that
people could come in and sit and take a seat and feel comfortable.
So my children were never told that they had to go to bed at a certain
hour. They just mingled and sat under the table and bit people on the foot and
leg. My mother called them 'products of the movement.' She said, oh, these
children, they don't go to bed, they just pass out. She also said, my mother,
oh, this is the darnedest house I've ever been in. She said, it never shuts
down. The people just keep changing. You know, we just keep, one set comes in,
and another moves out. Another move out, another set, group would move in. So
that's the way
I think the core team had to be our Operation Breadbasket family. It was a
host of people. Some very strong women. In the African-American community,
women are basically the backbone of everything. So I would have to look at the
women of Chicago and say that they have just been some of the strongest and
some of the greatest people in the world.
I am now 51. They say a woman who will tell her age will tell everything.
Yes, I get tired. Jesse Jackson is a very exciting human being. And at this
age, I want a little more peace and tranquility. Let me put it this way, I
would love for him to slow down. To slow down. To slow down.
When I say I can't go on like this, I'm a little too old for this. He
tells me, first 'To get some exercise.' And,'`I need some vitamins.' He tells
me to take some exercise and vitamins and that's supposed to do it. And don't
forget to pray. And that's supposed to get me. I told him, I've been doing
that. It's not working. He says continue to do it. He says, continue to do
So, do I get tired of this man? Yes. Yes. And I'm certain the feeling is
mutual. Yes. But we, as you've noticed, I like antiques and he's my favorite
The Democratic Party
When my husband became the frontrunner of the presidential race in
1988 because he won Michigan, I think the only people who knew that was our
campaign [was] our campaign manager and our campaign. That was the best kept
secret in all of America. And I'm glad I'm able now to say that because I was
very angry about it. I thought that you would see some banners flying and all
hail to the king. And we've done it and happy days are here again. None of
that. Sh-hh-h. Don't tell anybody. Sh-hh-h. This is a secret.
I think the inside response was not what I thought it to be. When he won
Michigan, it became more serious then. And people, the insiders, really became
very frightened. And I guess we scared the hell out of them, you know. It was
kind of amusing to me because you, as a person, you wonder well, what are they
making so much of this. You know. We're just people, I think, running just
like anybody else.
He told me, we won Michigan, Jackie. I said, the way to go Jesse. We're
doing great Jesse. But we were very happy. A lot of work went into Michigan.
He was exhilarated. He was exhilarated.
And happy. The happy is innocent.
I think the Democratic insiders, those who manage the party, those who put
things together, I think they are truly frightened of Jesse Jackson because he
exposes them because he's the only true Democrat that they have left. That's
an insider. But treated as an outsider by the insiders.
[His support]....It's the masses. Everyday people. I think you would have
to just go out here to the National Association of Teachers or to the Lawyers
Convention, to the average church and see the amount of overwhelming respect
and support people have for him. So it has been consistent down through the
My husband has registered more people than any Democrat or any Republican.
He's constantly inviting people to become a part of the change and their
future. And I'm not so sure that that is something that the insiders really
want. They tend to still want to chose, handpick a person and place that
person down front and suggest that you should appreciate that person over and
against the legitimacy of a Jesse Jackson campaign coming from the
My husband believes that he can make a difference. He loves people. Now
the question, is that job really about the people of these United States? And,
I feel good about him pressing that question. If it's about the people, then he
is equally as capable of assisting the people of this country as anyone else.
If it's not about the people, then you ought not deceive them. You ought to
let them know. And I will help my husband to press that question. We will
answer it this time. In this election. The question will be raised again. And
it must be answered.
One thing of the many things that I know about Jesse Jackson, he is
persistent. And he is persistent. And there's some questions that he has
raised and they will be answered and we are going to give the American people
the opportunity, as many times as is necessary to make the decision for
themselves as to their leadership. And if it means that we will be directly
involved or indirectly involved, that we will be.
But personally, I'm kind of tired of selecting people to do things that I
know we can do ourselves. I mean, my husband and I. So, why not Jesse Jackson.
Why not. Let's see how it sounds. President Jesse Jackson. I guess we will
have to call him President Jackson, not just Jesse any more. I think I'd like
I've seen him make people better. I've seen him make institutions better.
I've seen him make my country better. Because of Jesse Jackson, not only
African-American people, women, men are now participating in the American dream
at a level unspoken or unheard of before. You think of the world prior to the
60's. Think of America alone. Prior to the 60's And you see a part of the
institutions that Jesse Jackson has touched.
I know that if my husband, if he was given the opportunity to serve people,
that more people would be educated about the democratic process because they
would be listening. Somehow when he shows up, people begin to listen. He's
noticeable. He's quite visible. I know that people -- I don't believe America
can make any serious changes without the input of people. People must begin to
participate in America. It's somewhat naive to think that someone is going to
the White House and going to make all the provisions for you [to have] a soft life.
People must vote and participate and you need someone there, someone who has
that infectious enthusiasm that I told you about, something that infects
people, it makes them move, it makes them want to participate and work for the
improvement of their lives.
I don't know about him, because he hasn't announced it at this time. He
hasn't even shared it with me. But I'm always running. And if he should choose
to, I will assist him.