My right and my privilege to stand here before you has been won, won in my lifetime, by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.
Twenty-four years ago, the late Fannie Lou Hamer and Aaron Henry — who sits here tonight from Mississippi — were locked out onto the streets in Atlantic City; the head of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
But tonight, a Black and White delegation from Mississippi is headed by Ed Cole, a Black man from Mississippi; twenty-four years later.
Many were lost in the struggle for the right to vote: Jimmy Lee Jackson, a young student, gave his life; Viola Liuzzo, a White mother from Detroit, called “nigger lover,” and brains blown out at point blank range; [Michael] Schwerner, [Andrew] Goodman and [James] Chaney — two Jews and a Black — found in a common grave, bodies riddled with bullets in Mississippi; the four darling little girls in a church in Birmingham, Alabama. They died that we might have a right to live.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lies only a few miles from us tonight. Tonight he must feel good as he looks down upon us. We sit here together, a rainbow, a coalition — the sons and daughters of slavemasters and the sons and daughters of slaves, sitting together around a common table, to decide the direction of our party and our country. His heart would be full tonight…
C-Span Video – http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/3504-1