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Jesse Jackson says Obama nomination crowns civil rights movement

June 25, 2008 |  9:48 pm

Political observers of a certain age these days remember the Rev. Jesse Jackson's presidential campaigns in the dimness of two decades ago.

Today, Jackson says the anticipated nomination of Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate represents a crowning achievement for the civil rights movement as well as an "I-told-you-so" moment in the history of U.S. race relations.

Jackson appeared before the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune today in advance of the annual Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention that begins Saturday. He also said that he, unlike numerous other observers this year, was largely satisfied with the proportional Democratic delegate selection system that was a key to the extended party nominating -- a system Jackson was substantially responsible for in 1988.

Jackson called Obama's nomination "the last lap of a 54-year marathon race" that began with the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, followed by a series of civil rights events that included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "I have a dream" speech.

"People have been too quick to say, 'Back in the civil rights day,' " Jackson noted. "The civil rights movement never stopped. Its form may have changed from certain kinds of demonstration activity, but the struggle to get the right to vote was not led by either party. They celebrate the results of it, but in those marches, neither party invested in the success of those marches or martyrs."

Our colleague Rick Pearson has the rest of the Jackson story over at the Swamp.

-- Andrew Malcolm