Sheila Jackson Lee: ‘Kamala has now taken us to the mountaintop’ Martin Luther King Jr. preached about

Sheila Jackson Lee: ‘Kamala has now taken us to the mountaintop’ Martin Luther King Jr. preached about

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said Tuesday that Joe Biden’s historic selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate fulfills the central message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic final sermon, in which the late civil rights leader preached about seeing “the promised land” from a divine “mountaintop.”

Harris, a former presidential candidate who represents California, was announced earlier Tuesday as Biden’s running mate, making her first Black woman and South Asian American woman to run on a major political party’s presidential ticket.

“There was much reflection, but a lot of tears and a lot of reflection on the history of what we’re making today. What I would say is that so many women have tried to climb that mountaintop that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of,” Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360.”

“I think today it is evident there is an affirmation of not only Black women, but women of southeast Asia, women of color, that they have finally reached a status where they are affirmed in this nation as equal partners, and this mountain that we’ve all been trying to climb, Kamala has now taken us to the mountaintop,” said Jackson Lee, who is Black.

King famously preached about the “mountaintop” that Jackson Lee referenced during his last sermon at a church in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated. Titled “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” it was his last speech.

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind,” King said in the sermon.

He continued: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington, DC’s nonvoting House member, similarly spoke to the significance of Biden’s pick during the same segment Tuesday evening on CNN.

“Biden threw out the old playbook, where you look to balancing the ticket, for instance geographically. … So he wanted a new way to, quote, ‘balance … the ticket.’ He wanted to make history. And that’s what he has done,” said Norton, a Democrat. “We have had White women on the ticket. We have never had an African American woman.”


Subscribe to Newsletter


Subscribe to 560 KSFO's weekly eblast for the latest national and local news updates, exclusive contests, events and more.