Perkins Discretely Teary Over Obama

Bill Perkins

September 02, 2008

Sen. Bill Perkins , a self-proclaimed "child of the civil rights movement" and one of the first New York Democrats to break with the hometown pack and endorse Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, talked to me yesterday about how moved he was by the historic nature of Obama's nomination.

I also asked him about the idea that there's a split between the old guard, MLK-era guard of African American leaders and the new generation, now led by Obama, whose members are too young to have been part of defining moments like the march on Washington.

Perkins rejected that, saying Obama's candidacy is a "continuation of the movement," adding:

"I don't buy into a demarkation line. I don't buy that. I'm as much of a product and a participant in that movement in my own right, in my own era. And for me it's not over. We still have barriers to overcome. What this here tells us is that they will be overcome. They can be overcome."

...You don't have to march at Selma to be about Selma. You don't have be lynched to be against lynching. I mean, you don't have to be there. The idea is not for all of us to be there, it's for all of us to learn the lessons of it and to incorporate that into our lifestyles, into our vision. So, thank God that some of us did not have to do that.