White Panther founder hails Obama

Jan. 21, 2009 at 9:58 AM

LONDON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama's inauguration is a victory for whites who joined the call for an end to the "American apartheid" in the 1960s, a longtime activist says.

John Sinclair, founder in 1968 of the White Panther Party, which supported civil rights for African-Americans, said Tuesday's swearing-in of the United States' first black president was a moment he thought would never come, The Times of London reported.

"I've been waiting for this day all my adult life. I never thought it would be possible," said Sinclair, whose two-year imprisonment on marijuana charges in the 1960s became a cause celebre for musicians John Lennon and Stevie Wonder.

Sinclair was in London Tuesday night to play a special concert in honor of Obama's inauguration. He told The Times, "Obama has used the mechanisms of the social order against itselt. He's like John F. Kennedy -- he's fresh, young and smart. It's just something that the Establishment has never authorized before."

Sinclair told the newspaper that "when you are a white person in America, you have a horrible racist history that you were always uncomfortable with, but you think 'what can I do?' And now they've made the ultimate choice."

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