360° Coverage : Because they kept marching, America changed: Obama

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Because they kept marching, America changed: Obama
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Because they kept marching, America changed: Obama

Aug 28 2013, 11:48pm CDT | by IANS

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) Thousands of Americans converged on the national mall to hear America's first black president as they sought to recapture the magic of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech fifty summers ago.

Washington, Aug 29 — Thousands of Americans converged on the national mall to hear America's first black president as they sought to recapture the magic of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a...

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1 year ago

Because they kept marching, America changed: Obama

Aug 28 2013, 11:48pm CDT | by IANS

Washington, Aug 29 (IANS) Thousands of Americans converged on the national mall to hear America's first black president as they sought to recapture the magic of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech fifty summers ago.

Washington, Aug 29 — Thousands of Americans converged on the national mall to hear America's first black president as they sought to recapture the magic of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech fifty summers ago.

Standing on the same steps of the Lincoln Memorial from where the civil rights leader spoke in the afternoon of Aug 28, 1963, President Barack Obama Wednesday recalled how King "gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions" as a multitude of black, white and people of other varied shades listened.

But more than his words, the very act of an African-American president marking King's Mahatma Gandhi inspired "March on Washington" that he called "the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation", was steeped in symbolism.

"His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time," said Obama, dressed in a black suit and a blue tie, at the end of a day-long ceremony attended among others by two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Hailing leaders who braved intimidation and violence in their fight for equal rights, Obama cast his own election to the Oval Office as a consequence of persistence and courage from leaders such as King.

"Because they kept marching, America changed," Obama said amid a light drizzle.

"Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually, the White House changed."

While other, negative changes have forestalled the push toward racial harmony, Obama said the work of civil rights leaders had permanently changed the discourse between races in America.

"To dismiss the magnitude of this process, to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed, that dishonours the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years," Obama said.

Adopting words from another of King's speeches, Obama declared that "the arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn't bend on its own".

However, "to secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency", he said.

"We will suffer the occasional setback, but we will win these fights. This country has changed too much."

Before he spoke, Obama, his wife Michelle in a black dress with red flowers, and the King family gathered around and rang a cast iron bell to mark the moment King ended his speech with a call to "let freedom ring".

The bell had been saved from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, where a bombing by the Ku Klux Klan killed four black girls in September 1963.

Earlier, speaking from those very steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Clinton said: "This march and that speech changed America."

"They opened minds, they melted hearts and they moved millions, including a 17-year-old boy watching alone in his home in Arkansas."

Clinton also took to task people who dwell gridlock in Washington, instead of focusing on a way forward, like King did.

Carter, a Georgian like King, said: "We all know how Dr. King would have reacted" to voter ID requirements and stand-your-ground laws, among other policies.

"Well, there's a tremendous agenda ahead of us, and I'm thankful to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream is still alive," Carter said.

The Rev. Bernice King, Martin Luther King's daughter, who spoke after the former presidents, noted that there were no women on the programme 50 years ago, but that a number of powerful women spoke Wednesday afternoon.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

IANS

Source: IANS

 
Update
11

1 day ago

President Obama: Do No Harm

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In medicine, the first principle is to do no harm. That's because in the course of treating disease, there are many things that can go wrong. Over-treating disease can lead to more harm than good, even killing the patient. The "do no harm" principle is enshrined in the practice of medicine because it's easy to overreact in the name of "trying" something that proves to worsen the situation. The principle acts as a curb on good inte ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 
Update
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2 days ago

Two Silences and a Big Loud Noise at the People's Climate March

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Sunday will see the biggest march against climate change in the planet's history. But as we parade through the streets of New York, it will look -- and sound -- different than the big mass gatherings of the past century, from the march on Washington to the huge nuclear freeze mobilization in Manhattan. Some things people are used to will be missing; others will be added. Here's my list: 1) No speeches. There won't be a big rally at the finish of the march. Par ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 
Update
9

5 days ago

Muslim Americans Respond To Steve King’s Suggestion That Government Should Spy On Mosques: ‘It’s Reprehensible’

Sep 13 2014 9:50am CDT | Source: ThinkProgress

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) CREDIT: WHO-TV. Muslim Americans are fighting back against Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) suggestion on Thursday that the U.S. government should spy on mosques to stop the recruitment of fighters into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “The radical Islamists have 1.3 or more billion Muslims to work with,” the Iowa congressman said on The Steve Deace Show. “Now they aren’t all supporters… but that is a huge population to draw ...
Source: ThinkProgress   Full article at: ThinkProgress
 

 
Update
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1 week ago

Democracy and the People's Climate March

Sep 10 2014 1:38pm CDT | Source: Politics - The Huffington Post

If organizers of the 1963 March on Washington were transported fifty years later to plan the forthcoming "People's Climate March," to held at the United Nations in New York, September 21, they would not call the march's promo film released on Monday night, Disruption. The 1963 organizers, I believe, would propose a message of democracy -- we can take the future in our hands. Revitaliz ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 
Update
7

2 weeks ago

Racism in the eye of the beHolder

Sep 3 2014 6:40pm CDT | Source: WND

How did I miss it in July when Eric Holder told ABC News that it was racist to suggest Americans should take their country back? I’m just now catching up on that one after hearing Vice President Joe Biden misuse the term “take America back” after apparently not getting the memo from the attorney general about the racial overtones of this phrase. I had no idea when I used these words as the title of my best-selling book, “Taking America Back,” in 2003 – before anyone outside ...
Source: WND  Full article at: WND
 

 
Update
5

2 weeks ago

Police Tactics Again Under the Spotlight in Racially Charged Demonstrations: When Will They Ever Learn?

Aug 29 2014 8:54pm CDT | Source: Politics - The Huffington Post

The events in Ferguson demonstrate once again the unsurprising results of a recent empirical study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that found that "[p]olice tactics often provoke protesters." They also remind us how little we retain of lessons that should be learned from past experience. It is extraordinarily troubling that Missouri, St. Louis County and Ferguson gov ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 
Update
4

3 weeks ago

The Broader Vicious Circle Behind the Ferguson Crisis

Aug 28 2014 10:31am CDT | Source: Politics - The Huffington Post

In the wake of events like the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Americans are often called upon to reflect on racial discrimination. But debate over the issue usually focuses narrowly on how racism spurs injustices while overlooking how it is also a major source of division. Yet, these two issues are inextricably intertwined. The profound division of American society along racial lines is part of a vicious circl ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 
Update
3

3 weeks ago

Holder and Obama trampling on MLK's dream

Aug 24 2014 3:21pm CDT | Source: WND

Martin Luther King’s famous dream speech called for a color-blind society, one in which one’s character, not skin color, would be the basis for judging any individual. Many decades later, America has elected an African-American president who has installed an African-American attorney general as the chief enforcer of the law. So, how are these African-American leaders doing with regard to Martin Luther King’s demand for color b ...
Source: WND  Full article at: WND
 

 
Update
2

3 weeks ago

We don't have to have more Fergusons

Aug 22 2014 6:12pm CDT | Source: WND

Aug. 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the mall in Washington, D.C. One year later, a half century ago, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. A half-century is a long time. Yet, as events in Ferguson, Missouri, attest to, race remains a problem in America. Why? Change has swept our nation over these years. Technologies abound that no one would have dreamed of. And millions of black Americans have move ...
Source: WND  Full article at: WND
 

 
Update
1

4 weeks ago

What Ever Happened to 'Officer Friendly' Ferguson?

Aug 19 2014 10:44pm CDT | Source: Politics - The Huffington Post

I approach this topic as a woman of color. I grew up in racially segregated Chicago. Although it was not the South, there were still neighborhoods where blacks were not welcomed. My first encounter with racism was as an 8-year-old on a family vacation to visit relatives in the South. It soured me on returning, and whenever I hear a certain drawl, it instantly revives memories of our almost-encounter with the KKK. When I was a preteen shopping for an eighth-grade graduation dress in th ...
Source: Politics - The Huffington Post   Full article at: Politics - The Huffington Post
 

 

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