Wednesday, August 28, 2013

President Obama Speech on 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

He's was heavily laying on his hip-hip accent, because, you know, Barack Hussein's all about bein' down with the brothas.

At LAT, "Obama honors King, pushes political agenda on anniversary":

WASHINGTON – President Obama tried to reassemble a “coalition of conscience” to take up his economic agenda for the middle class on Wednesday as he honored Martin Luther King Jr. and the marchers who fought for civil rights 50 years ago.

“In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it,” Obama said.

The president spoke at a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 1963 protest that became the most iconic moment of the civil rights movement. Obama, the first African American president, spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,  where King described his dream of racial equality as many black Americans still struggled to vote.

He noted that “no one can match King’s brilliance” but called on all citizens to keep up the fight for more opportunity. “The arc of moral universe may bend toward justice,” he said quoting King. “But it doesn’t bend on its own.”

Obama has often cited King as an inspiration and a touchstone. The president’s speeches regularly quote King, or crib from his writings. The president has a bust of King and a copy of the program from the original march in the Oval Office. Obama took the oath of office this year using a Bible owned by King. The gestures have cemented a symbolic connection between the two most recognizable black leaders in U.S. history.

But Obama’s relationship with  the civil rights movement and King’s legacy has been complex. Obama, whose mother was white and father Kenyan, has wrestled with this racial identity and his connection to the movement that defined a generation of black political life.

He has identified as part of the Joshua generation, the label given to the children of movement’s founders charged with carrying on the legacy, but he has also criticized the civil rights movement, saying it is fractured.

Obama on Wednesday repeated some of that critique. Over the years, legitimate outrage over discrimination devolved into “excuse-making for criminal behavior,” Obama said. “What had once been a call for equality of opportunity … was too often framed as a mere desire for government support. … As if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child.”
Continue reading.

And see "Obama: ‘Because they kept marching, America changed’."

Also, at NYT, "Where King Stood, Obama Reframes a Dream," and "Guardians of King’s Dream Regroup in Washington."