Obama marks Civil Rights turning point in Selma speech

President Barack Obama, fourth from left, listens to Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as he speaks about "Bloody Sunday" as they and the first family, civil right leaders, and members of Congress, walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., for the 50th anniversary of the landmark event of the civil rights movement, Saturday, March 7, 2015. From left are Sasha Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Lewis, Obama, Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was beaten during "Bloody Sunday," and Adelaide Sanford, also in a wheelchair. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama, fourth from left, listens to Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as he speaks about “Bloody Sunday” as they and the first family, civil right leaders, and members of Congress, walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., for the 50th anniversary of the landmark event of the civil rights movement, Saturday, March 7, 2015. From left are Sasha Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Lewis, Obama, Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was beaten during “Bloody Sunday,” and Adelaide Sanford, also in a wheelchair (Photo Courtesy of AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By Brenda Rojas

Student Contributor

On Saturday, March 7, President Barack Obama and the first family traveled to Selma Alabama to commemorate the marchers who fought for their rights 50 years earlier. There he was joined by thousands of Americans, including Congressman John Lewis who had helped organize the first March over the bridge in 1965, and who walked arm-in-arm with President Barack Obama.

President Barack Obama spoke at the foot of the bridge in front of thousands, as the nation’s first African American president honored all that fought for equality for all blacks. The first lady, Michelle Obama, George W. Bush and his wife, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who was at the Selma March, joined the president on stage.

Throughout his speech, President Barack Obama celebrated and paid tribute to those who sacrificed and were beaten as they tried to cross the bridge towards Montgomery, later known as Bloody Sunday. Because of the marchers who fought for equal rights 50o years ago, the United States made progress creating a more racially diverse and accepting society. This has allowed African Americans to run boardrooms, sit as judges, and serve in elected offices.

He also spoke about the struggles that Latinos, gays, Asian Americans, and others go through, and compared it to those Africans Americans that stood up until change was made. President Obama finished his speech by saluting to Americas’s diversity that started the unifying rhetoric of his two presidential campaigns. “We are Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea, We are the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores… We’re the slaves that built the White House and the economy of the South.”

 

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