Jesse Jackson Presidential Campaign Announcement in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 16, 1984.
There are eight Democrats running for the nomination this time around: You got a chance, and you got a choice.
You want somebody who marched for you to get the right to vote, you got a choice. Want somebody who challenged corporate America to hire and give you contracts, you got a choice. It's choice time! [Loud applause.]
All this talk about qualifications..."What do blacks know about foreign policy?" It's an insult. I was three years old, I came into my consciousness, my Daddy was coming home from the war. Foreign policy. If he was so dumb, how did he get over there and get back? If he didn't know foreign policy, why did they give him a gun? And when they gave it to him he knew which way to shoot. [Cheers and laughter.]
We know foreign policy. When you buy Honda and Toyota, that's foreign policy. Russian Vodka, that's foreign policy. Panasonic and Sony, that's foreign policy. Mercedes Benz, that's foreign policy, and a matter of fact, we came here on a foreign policy!
Yeah! [extended applause and cheers]
I know ya'll are in a hurry, I'm going to leave you now. [crowd shouts, "No!"] It's time for a new course, a new coalition, a new leadership.
Red, yellow, black and white, we are all precious in God's sight!
Somebody got to rise above race, rise above sex, a new leadership, a choice, a chance. Don't cry about what you don't have, use what you got. Reagan won the last time not by genius. Reagan won when we were asleep. He won by the margin of despair. He won by the margin, the fracture of our coalition, he won by the margin of racial division, he won by default.
I close with another story of a little shepherd boy named David. Everybody in town was scared of Goliath.
Philadelphia, your time has come. Don't stop at the Mayor's office, go on higher.
Because you must never forget that about the time we began to take over the cities, Nixon shifted the power to the suburbs. Now Reagan has shifted it to the states. So you have mayors who have more and more responsibility and less and less power. We got more and more votes and fewer and fewer services. We can not stop. We got to rise on higher.
Little David, little David, little David. Took off his unnecessary garments, Little David. Didn't want to get weighted down with a lot of foolishness, little David Too. k what God gave him, a sling shot and a God biscuit, a rock.
Our problem today is that David-- [Jackson's interrupts himself]-- What we need, we need to organize Pennsylvania and win because we are going to stop the rocks that's been lying around and pick them up.
In 1980, Reagan won Massachusetts by 2,500 votes! There were over a hundred thousand students unregistered, over 50,000 blacks, over 50,000 Hispanics. He won by 2,500. Ted Kennedy's state. Rocks just laying around.
He won Illinois by 300,000 votes--800,000 unregistered blacks, 500,000 Hispanics, rocks just laying around! He won. In 1980 three million high school students unregistered to vote. Now they've registered to draft. Rocks still laying around! [Crowd cheers.]
[There were] 11-million college students who could have chosen jobs over jails, peace over war, that didn't vote. Now they're crying. Rocks just laying around! [More cheers.]
Reagan won eight southern states by 182,000 votes when there were three million unregistered blacks in those same eight states. Rocks just laying around! [More cheers.]
He won New York by 165,000 votes. 600,000 students unregistered, 900,000 blacks, 600,000 Hispanics. Rocks just laying around! [Cheers]
In 1980, Reagan won Pennsylvania by 300,000 votes, 400,000 students unregistered. More than 600,000 blacks unregistered! Reagan won Pennsylvania by the margin of despair, by margin of the fracture of our coalition. [Members of the crowd shout "Yeah!"]
[Jackson concludes, shouting over thunderous applause and cheers] Philadelphia, your time has come! Pick up your sling shot, pick up your rock, declare our time has come, a new day has begun! Red, yellow, black and white, we are all precious in God's sight! Our time has come!