President Obama Honors 50th Anniversary of Selma March

Obama Selma

As a new generation fights against racial injustice in America, President Obama and a list of political leaders visited Selma, Alabama over the weekend to commemorate those who fought for racial injustice in the past. The president traveled to the town to honor the 50th anniversary of the events of “Bloody Sunday” when 600+ non-violent protesters were attacked by Alabama state troopers as they tried to march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.

In addition to marching, Obama delivered a moving speech in front of thousands that honored the Selma marchers.

“What they did here will reverberate through the ages,” he began. “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. As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse— everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged. And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?”

He added that though the commemoration is special, one day of remembrance is not enough for the continuous work needed to help fight justice.

“First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough. If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done— the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation. Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism. For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair,” he said.

POTUS was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, First Daughters Sasha Obama and Malia Obama, former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and about 100 Congress members.

Listent o the speech below:

(Photo Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)