Archive for March 7th, 2015

07
Mar
15

Selma: The Words Of A Hero

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Continue reading ‘Selma: The Words Of A Hero’

07
Mar
15

The President’s Selma Speech

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by Jacqueline

The Bridge to Everywhere

This day, many hadn’t come
But all that was for naught
Because no one really noticed.
Those who came could have
Closed their eyes and still felt
The singular beauty of the place.
Could have still heard the silenced voices
Of the old warriors, and could have
Heard the sound the old bridge made
With the wind softly moving through it
And the shoes passionately walking over it
All voices still silent.
See and hear the beauty of the place
Look out into the rivers of time
Touch each other in
Warm embrace
And feel the beauty of the day.
The remarkable memories it brought
Were enough. I wouldn’t change a thing.
No need to change the name of the bridge, either
That bridge belongs to everyone and no one, anyway.

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President Obama:

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government — all you need for a night behind bars — John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

[tweet https://twitter.com/repjohnlewis/status/574304057378078720 align=’center’]

President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war — Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character — Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history — the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher — met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America — that idea ultimately triumphed.

As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation. The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them. We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And in the days to come, they went back again and again. When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came — black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing. To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson. And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had. Faith in God — but also faith in America.

The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities — but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

Continue reading ‘The President’s Selma Speech’

07
Mar
15

The President Speaks At Selma, Part 4

And live streaming at C-SPAN

07
Mar
15

The President Speaks At Selma, Part 3

And live streaming at C-SPAN

07
Mar
15

The President Speaks At Selma, Part 2

And live streaming at C-SPAN

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The First Family arriving at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama

07
Mar
15

The President Speaks At Selma

Live streaming has started

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And live streaming at C-SPAN

07
Mar
15

Selma

Delayed – 1:35 ET: The President delivers remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Not sure when the speech will start after First Family’s departure from DC was delayed for an hour

07
Mar
15

Rise and Shine

An aerial view of the half-mile-long column of civil rights demonstrators as they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, scene of the confrontation between marchers and state troopers.

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Today

EST

10:30 The First Family departs the White House

CST

11:40: Arrive Montgomery, Alabama

1:35: The President delivers remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge

3:20: First Family tours the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, Selma

5:05: Depart Montgomery

EST

8:05: The First Family arrive at the White House

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Live coverage starts on C-SPAN at 12:0 EST

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by Donna Dem

Good Morning TOD

Today as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March to Selma it has allowed me to reminisce about some of my memories of those times and the days since.

I was raised in what was considered the better part of DC. There were some whites but mostly blacks in my neighborhood. I attended Catholic school whose racial makeup in the mid 60’s was 50/50. Our family traveled every summer but we always went north, never south (in later years I understood why). We rode public transportation all the time and we sat anywhere we wanted to my memory. I was taught by Nuns and never personally witnessed discrimination until I was 16 years old on a summer youth job (thanks to Marion Barry) and overheard workers who didn’t know that I had come back from lunch say, “she doesn’t act or talk like the rest of those people….. This one seems smart and has manners so I guess we can stop locking up the petty cash box when she’s here”. This was greeted with laughter by all within ear shot. I waited a whole minute before walking into the office so they wouldn’t know that I knew how they felt about me.

Being raised by my grandmother who later in life told me that she witnessed her dad being beaten within an inch of his life for not addressing a white man “properly” was shall I say guarded? As a child I didn’t understand why she was so very protective of our every move. She shielded us from the realities of the world as it existed during those times. The only time I ever saw her react to the incessant discrimination that was actually going on in this country was the day after Bloody Sunday. The evening news was broadcasting those atrocious scenes from the Edmund Pettis Bridge and she took a cast iron frying pan and threw it at the wall and screamed in horror and broke down into tears. The anger and hurt that came from this normally mild mannered woman was immeasurable.

As a 9 year old watching what was unfolding on that old black and white TV that evening I witnessed the evil that existed and first understood that people who looked like me were under attack in this country. We were never allowed to go to marches or protests because she knew that bad things happen to people who stood up for what was right. She later in life told me that this was one of her regrets. She said she learned that if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything. She had evolved and understood what a wise man told us when he was running to become the first Black President:

My only regret is that she didn’t live to witness this magnificent man serve as our President while on this earth. She would be beyond proud.

God Bless all those who will march today to commemorate this historic moment. We will never forget the sacrifices of those who sacrificed for us.

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Morning everyone, it’s going to be a special day

07
Mar
15

Early Bird Chat

On This Day: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk to Marine One on the South Lawn before heading to Camp David, March 7, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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MoooOOOooorning!




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