"He was saint-like. When you were in his presence you could feel that inner strength, but the bitterness and the anger you would expect him to feel just wasn't there."

-- Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland

"Nelson Mandela fought heroically for freedom and a truly democratic society. His courageous life shows what's possible when one acts on his convictions."

-- Gov. Jerry Brown

"The first time I ever carried a placard it said, 'Free Nelson Mandela. End Apartheid.' When I was in prison, I said to myself I had to stay strong just like Nelson Mandela."

-- Bobby Seale, cofounder Black Panther Party

"He is a hero who led with grace and compassion. His spirit will live on in the hearts and minds of those who continue the fight for justice."

-- State Attorney General Kamala Harris

"There are no words that can describe what it was like to be in his presence and to be in the presence of so many people who had come to show their love for him. It was just mind-boggling."

-- Oakland City Councilmemer Larry Reid on Mandela's triumphant 1990 visit to Oakland

"The message he gave of forgiving those who imprisoned him was a godly message. We are all so inspired by it."

-- Oakland Deputy Mayor Sandré Swanson who helped organize Mandela's 1990 visit to Oakland