A Party Held HOSTAGE: Michelle Obama Wasn’t Alone in Her Hostility at the Rainbow/PUSH Conference in 2004–Protests Against Jesse Jackson, Threats Against Democrats/Kerry By Ministers in an Eerie Preview of the Rev. Wright Episode

The Hillbuzz post on the Michelle Obama rant tape gives a brief overview of what was going on at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago which was held between June 26th – July 1st 2004 in Chicago.

My research comes up with some more interesting information about what was going on outside the conference…demonstrations by ministers, specifically Rev. Anthony Williams, against Jesse Jackson, who was called “the worst nightmare” for the black community and threats against the Democratic Party and candidate John Kerry by protestors in what seems to be an eerie preview of the Reverend Wright episode this primary season. More on this later…

The entire agenda of the conference is available in a press release issued by Rainbow/Push. The press release was entitled 2004 Annual Conference: Politics, Business, Education, Hip-Hop Take Center Stage.

BILL CLINTON, JOHN KERRY, BILL COSBY, DICK GEPHARDT, HOWARD DEAN, BARACK OBAMA HIGHLIGHT ANNUAL RAINBOW/PUSH & CEF CONFERENCE CHICAGO (June 16, 2004) – Former president and current author Bill Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, entertainer/educator Bill Cosby, former presidential candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt, Chicago Stock Exchange Chairman Valerie Jarrett; Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama and Starbucks Chairman and Chief Global Strategist Howard Schultz are among the dozens of newsmakers scheduled to attend the 33rd Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Citizenship Education Fund Conference, June 26 – July 1, 2004, at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.This year’s conference, 2004: A Year of Critical Choices For Inclusion and Growth, has extra significance as this presidential election year marks the 20th anniversary of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.’s historic run for the presidency of the United States. His 1984 campaign was the first serious bid by an African-American for the nation’s highest office.

In celebration of this anniversary, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition hosts a day of festivities on Saturday, June 26, known as Reunion Day. The event, which will be held at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters at 930 E. 50th St., Chicago, will bring together the many politicians, political organizers, campaign workers, ministers, educators, students, factory workers, journalists, Midwestern farmers, Appalachian coal miners and other supporters who worked on the 1984 and 1988 campaigns.

“On this day, we will reach back as far as we can go,” Rev. Jackson said as he and Rainbow/PUSH Coalition officials look forward to seeing some of the old warriors, whom he describes as the “roots” of the movement. “Most of today’s young politicians don’t know these people. Many of them who started with us are aging and they are not here, but their children and their political offspring are active.

“One reason Jesse Jr. won his congressional seat is because his opponents did not know how deep people’s gratitude was for our work. “All of these people, and their children and even their children’s children, voted for him.”

“For all of us,” Rev. Jackson added, “Reunion Day is about tapping the strength of our roots, about looking deep and wide to know who we are. This event is one way of keeping our roots watered.”

Many of the elected officials and people gathering for Reunion Day will remain in Chicago on Sunday, June 27, for the convention’s Leadership Summit Day. Guests scheduled to attend the summit include former presidential candidate and Vermont governor Howard Dean, Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown; Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., Democratic senatorial candidate Barack Obama, and many current and former lawmakers at state and federal levels.

Isn’t it interesting that in 2004, Jackson’s 1984 run was described as the first “serious” run for the Presidency by a black candidate? And yet, in 2008, we’re hearing that Bill Clinton is a racist for citing Jackson’s campaigns and Obama is being referred to as the first “serious” black candidate? But, a story from the Chicago Tribune reporting on the conference’s Reunion Day includes the following background. (Jackson, Fans Reflect on Legacy of ’84, ’88 bids. Note: Original story in fee archives, excerpt from copy of the story found at FreeRepublic [shudder!])

Asked last week if he ever thought he’d win, Jackson answered: “I was running to register people, running to enlighten people and running to learn.”

At that he succeeded, he said.

The 1984 campaign alone registered 1 million new voters, according to Rainbow/PUSH. In 1988, the campaign registered 2 million new voters…

As for enlightening people, Jackson said, his bid stretched voters’ notion of the electable.

“When I ran in ’84, it was like an absurd idea. It was just crazy. Scholars were writing articles,” he said. Jackson won 3.5 million votes in 1984 and did better in 1988, emerging from the Democratic primaries and caucuses with 7 million votes.

That sounds like a pretty “real” candidate to me…


Now, what else happened at the conference?

According to the agenda provided in the press release, there was what seems to have been a “Women’s Luncheon” which was held on Monday, June 28, 2004 from noon to 2 pm. Jesse Jackson was the keynote speaker at the event. I cannot find any other event specifically for women on the agenda. And there is no specific mention of Louis Farrakhan being in attendance at this event.

Just before this luncheon, however, there was a meeting from 8 am to 10 am focusing on the “religious community.”

Monday, June 28

Focus: The Church and the Marketplace
Sessions on finance, health, issues in the religious community and related topics will be held throughout the day. Rev. Major Jemison, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, gives the keynote address. Rev. Stephen J. Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America, presides. 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

I cannot identify which event Michelle Obama or Farrakhan attended…did they attend the main meeting, the luncheon, or both? Or was there another event which they attended other then the ones I’ve mentioned?


Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby participated on the last day of the event:

After four days of specialized meetings and events, the conference concludes on Thursday, July 1, with a stellar lineup of participants, including former President and current author Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Charles Ogletree and celebrity judge Greg Mathis, who will discuss critical issues in education.


The protest against Jackson coincided with John Kerry’s speech on Tuesday, June 29th in a session attended by many from the labor movement. As reported by Cyber News Service. (NOTE: Rev. Anthony Williams, a member of the Libertarian party as described in the “Why Anthony” section, announced in 2006 that he planned to run against Jesse Jackson, Jr. om 2008–his website from 2006 is here, with a full biography. He makes a special appeal to young voters in the “Issues” section and the section “Republican Party” provides information for donating to his campaign.Williams actually ran in 2006, but lost to Jackson. He was part of a group of Conservative black leaders who, in 2005, who condemned “Democrats for what they view as an “act of racism” for illegally obtaining the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a black Republican believed to be ready to launch a campaign for the U.S. Senate.)

Protestors Call Jesse Jackson ‘Worst Nightmare’ for Black Community
By Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
June 30, 2004

Chicago (CNSNews.com) – As Democrat John F. Kerry addressed Jesse Jackson’s 33rd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference on Tuesday, about 100 African-American religious and community leaders gathered on a sidewalk outside the conference to protest Jackson for being the black community’s “worst nightmare.”

“Jesse is an immoral person. He has a history of being on the wrong side of history,” said Pastor Anthony Williams of Chicago’s St. Stephens Lutheran Church.

“The media — the American media — has invented our worst nightmare in the black community. He has never done anything beneficial for our people,” Williams told CNSNews.com.

“We are letting the Democratic Party know — from a state, county and federal level — that the black vote is not for sale. I will vote for Mickey Mouse before I vote for John Kerry,” Williams added.

The protestors chanted and carried signs that read “Jesse does not speak for black people” and “America’s number-one pimp selling the black vote.”

Williams does not believe that black voters’ overwhelming support for the Democratic Party has proven beneficial to minorities.

“The African American community has historically got nothing (from supporting the Democratic Party) — a precious few has gotten something like these old civil rights organizations and people like Jesse,” Williams said.

“We have been taken for granted because of people like Jesse. His day is over with,” he added.


The protestors said Jackson does not represent black America.

“We want the Democratic Party to know that we will no longer be taken for granted, we will no longer just give our vote to them. We will no longer allow Jesse to pigeonhole the black community into a vote for them,” Davis said.


But protestor Williams was not persuaded that blacks have no other option except to vote for the Democratic Party.

I say, ‘Guess what? We can go fishing on Election Day, and let’s see what is going to happen to Mr. Kerry then,” Williams said. “I will just encourage my congregation of 3000 people to go fishing.”

Harold Davis said he was willing to give Bush and the GOP a chance to compete for his vote.

“Let’s see what the Republican Party has to say about pulling yourself up by your own boot straps. Let’s give them the opportunity to come to the talk,” Davis said.

Wow. Doesn’t a lot of this sound real familiar?? Seems like the Democratic Party has been sitting on this volcano since 2004. And Williams’ was calling Democrats racists in 2005. Doesn’t all this this sound like the Democratic Party has been held HOSTAGE and that 2008 is all about appeasement?? (With just window-dressing with “image” and no real action on real concerns?) Is this what is at the top of the agenda for Democrats??


Also, link to full coverage of the conference in JET magazine, July 26, 2004

18 Responses

  1. This is nothing new. African-American activists have been saying this for a long time, and no one (as in, Democratic party leaders) ever took it seriously. They thought they didn’t have to.

    African-Americans, too, have been victims of the “What are they going to do, vote Republican?” mindset. Just like us.

  2. Yes. This is all about appeasing African Americans. The media has been daring the superdel’s to endorse Hillary, with the threat of a racial riot. The superdel’s could not do their just duty because of the media.

  3. We as Hispanics don’t have that tipical mentality as blacks. We did not flock to Richardson just because he was ” the Hispanic candidate” for POTUS. Candidates have to earn our Hispanic votes. Richardson didn’t do enough to convince us that he was the best candidate to win the nominee. Our country comes first before party. The majority of Hispanics democrats voted for Bush in 2004 and now in 2008 they voted for Senator Clinton. We are considered the swing vote, because we take our political issues seriously. Blacks on the other hand, voted over 80-90% for Obama. It’s obvious why they flocked to Obama.
    Now, it seem that McCain and Obama are going to have to earn each and every Hispanic vote. We will vote for the strongest candidate for our country. We know how to think on our own and vote for the best candidate to become POTUS. The Media doesn’t decide for us. That’s why Hispanics voted for Senator Clinton for being the strongest and most intellectual candidate for the democratic party. Who will be the Hispanics next best choice, I have no doubt it will be Senator McCain.

  4. I think there might be riots anyway – even if obama is nominated.

    Just look at obama blogs to see the herd, it would be like WTO in Seattle where a bunch of boyz take an opportunity to play in the middle of otherwise peaceful protest.

    I’m sure Hillary supporters or just regular loyal Dems who feel this year’s process is corrupt will be protesting the convention.

  5. Blackmail. Nice.

    Not exactly the high ground but not the first time the party has caved in to threats of one sort or another…and cost us an election. I’m getting used to it.

    I’m too old and tired to join a counterriot in the streets but my protests will be financial and withholding my vote for Obama.

    My sig line still says it all for me: “Tell me how you spend your time and how your spend your money…I’ll tell you what your values are.”

    Time/talent and money…that’s all we have to give. If you hand it over without a fight, there’s a word for that and it ain’t pretty.

    Not me. Lots of other, more worthwhile places to spend both in my local community.

  6. From the news article:
    “marks the 20th anniversary of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.’s historic run for the presidency of the United States. His 1984 campaign was the first serious bid by an African-American for the nation’s highest office. ”

    I truly wish I’d known about this article back in 2004, but not for the info about the AA activists and their derision of Jesse Jackson, but instead to remind whoever was responsible for the article itself that it’s generally a good idea to get the facts straight before it gets printed. Jesse Jackson’s campaign was NOT “the first serious bid by an African-American”; that honor goes to the late Shirley Chisholm who won THREE state primaries (New Jersey, Mississippi and Louisiana) and nationally won more than 430,000 votes in the primaries (wherein she earned more than 150 delegates out of 3000 delegates up for grabs).

  7. Thanks for correcting the 2004 spin!!! I guess “serious candidate” is in the eye of the beholder! Shirley Chisolm actually scores on both first serious black candidate and first serious female candidate!

  8. How about all the women in the Democratic Party? I guess it’s o.k. to throw all of us under the bus. I will be voting for John McCain because I think he would be a better president than Obama, at least he is honest and is loyal to America. Obama has so many shady characters on his staff and in his background from Chicago. He is just a typical corrupt politician from Chicago, he stole this nomination HE DID NOT EARN IT. It is our duty to make sure that Obama and Co. are defeated in the fall. He will be very bad for America.




  10. So much information available but the media couldn’t be bothered to look anything up like this. They gave us 2 terms of George Bush. First by trivilizing the accomplishments of Al Gore and then the portrayal of the Dean scream which gave us John Kerry in the first 5 primaries without input from the primaries of any of the remaining states. The Bush/Rove tactics used against John McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries (“He had a black baby in South Carolina”). All were pushed on us through the corporate media thats too lazy or purposely not vetting the candidates for the American people. They have their own agenda and it has nothing to do with the health and welfare of the public, only the almighty dollar. And now, the Democratic Party follows in lockstep kneeling before the same media and promising to be compliant. Its pathetic and I fear for our Union. Its only the people who can reject the media, think for yourself, don’t follow the masses blindly or we have no hope.
    General Electric, also known as NBC/MSNBC will stop making househole appliances and will focus on their military contracts/profits. War profiteer, and where is Congress?


  12. You can be sure the majority of Americans will bush the button for McCain in November, they do not trust Senator Obama. He thinks his soft answers gets him off the hook, but they only add more doubt.
    Hillary was a sure win, but the DNC went for the long shot. They never usually finish the race!

  13. Middle class and poor lose again in a power struggle. Now it is the liberal elite that want to have a party all to their own with their selected minorities (women, asians, native americans, and hispanics need not apply)

  14. This “event” was to have been the Rainbow/PUSH Convention in 2004 attended by Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Kerry and Obama were both running for national office. Now a Harvard educated attorney whose husband holds a statewide senate seat and is running for national office would be STUPID enough to get in front of a room full of people with tv cameras and talk about “whitey” in 2004? How DUMB or DESPERATE can all of you bloggers be?!?!

  15. I could not agree with you more pjams, use your heads people. I have yet to see, through all of my in depth research of Obama, any ‘claims’ about the poor quality of his character substantiated. I believe some Republicans are using every desperate attempt to smudge Obama’s good name. I also find it interesting that the majority of individuals who did vote for him in the primaries were the college educated. This says a lot to me…do some real research then come back and tell me why I should not vote for the one who seems the best qualified to turn this sinking country around.

  16. I’ve done plenty of research and you should too. If Rev Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezco, Michelle Obama never being proud of her country, and Obama’s consistent lies don’t bother you, then Obama is your guy. I will not follow the lemmings over the cliff as I am not drinking the kool-aid. Hillary should take it to Denver, she was screwed! If she is not the nominee, I will vote for McCain, a true American hero.

  17. Rev. Wright was his preacher…nothing more; he is not Obama and judging Obama based on a couple people he knows or associates with is ignorant because any person who cares about others can associate with people who may be looked down upon…for crying out loud Jesus was always around those who needed the most saving. Also, these few people in his life ARE NOT HIM! With regard to Michelle Obama she was referring to the political system and the historic moment she was experiencing..ie: a woman and a black man having a very real chance to be, for the first time, chosen for one of the two big parties. She was not happy with how slow the country has been to become gender/color blind. I absolutely supported Hillary but she is no longer running and supports Obama; I have yet to see any solid validations for the crap that has been thrown out regarding the degrading of Obama. For you to assume that I follow the crowd is absolutely ignorant and assuming on your part. I am far from the type that goes with the flow or ‘follows the lemmings over the cliff’ as you said. No one has an influence on my choices other than truth. If you do the research you will find that all the candidates, Hillary included, have associated with people who would be looked down upon, at least Obama has never gone through trials for scandals. I would also like you to validate the ‘consistent lies’ Obama has.

  18. yep, on June 19th, 2008 at 11:53 pm Said:

    Rev. Wright was his preacher…nothing more;…

    For over 20 years, Obama has said Rev Wight was his mentor and a father figure and much more than a pastor It’s only now that Obama says Wright was just his preacher…… whatever that means, because your preacher is a pretty important person aren’t they?

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