President Obama delivered a poignant speech before thousands Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama.
“It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes,” began Obama in what many are calling a historic speech. “And John Lewis is one of my heroes.”
Lewis, a civil rights activist who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on that day in 1965 was in attendance Saturday as well as Dr. King’s daughter, Bernice King. They were joined by thousands of citizens and politicians including First Lady Michelle Obama, Rev. Al Sharpton, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.
The historic civil rights march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is remembered as a watershed moment in the civil rights movement. President Obama praised Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil right’s leaders for their courage in the face of violence and prejudice.
“What they did here will reverberate through the ages,” Obama said. “Not because the change they won was preordained, not because their victory was complete, but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.”
The President also touched on the current climate in America, acknowledging that we don’t yet live in a post-racial society.
“We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true,” he said. “We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character — requires admitting as much.”
Take a look at his full speech above.