How Jackson speech played in US cities
Chicago — More than any other American city, Chicago qualifies as the Rev. Jesse Jackson's home base. It was here in 1971 that he launched Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity), and he has lived here for more than 20 years.
Yet until his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, he was often more highly regarded as a black leader outside the city than in Chicago itself. But his campaign, including the passionate speech he gave this week at the Democratic convention - have done much to make him more of a local hero.
The reaction of Chicagoans who heard the speech and were questioned at random was mostly favorable.
''It was a speech that should heal a lot of wounds,'' says Janie Russell, a student at Chicago Loop College.
The Rev. George Riddick, a vice-president of Operation PUSH, says the speech was powerful enough to compensate largely for the defeat of the minority plank earlier the same day in the Democratic Party platform. He added that Jackson's call for a more realistic Mideast policy and the need to embrace Africa as a potential trading partner were particularly important.
Ralph Leslie, a black clerk in a downtown store, says: ''I respect him a lot more now. . . . I don't think he has a rainbow coalition - he's sometimes practiced reverse discrimination - but I think he could. If he'd tone it down a little, he could get a more middle-class base.''