Jackson's convention speech is seen by some blacks and whites in the South as ''historic,'' a new high point for black participation in presidential politics. Blacks and whites interviewed reasoned that if Jackson had spoken negatively about his treatment in the Democratic Party, he might have quelched the interest of many black voters in going to the polls in November. But instead he called for unity within the party.
Now if he ''keeps up his enthusiasm,'' he could help with voter turnout, says Larry Walker, a white Democratic state legislator from Perry, Ga.
Richard Ray, president of the Atlanta Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, and a white, predicts that ''20 years from now when our kids study history, they're going to read about his speech.''
Mary Scott, a black secretary in Atlanta, was deeply moved by the Jackson speech.''Sometimes God uses people,'' she said of Jackson. ''This man has proved to the world that blacks are not a bunch of dummies.''
Black rural health clinic director Clyde Mock of Canton, Miss., was leaning toward not voting for anyone for president. But the Jackson speech ensures his vote for the Democratic candidate, he says. He liked the part where Jackson asked forgiveness for remarks he made which were offensive to the Jews, Mr. Mock says.
Noah Levine, of the Atlanta Jewish Federation, liked that part, too. ''It was a fine speech,'' he says, one that stresses unity.