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March 9, 2015  

In Selma, Obama Builds A Bridge Over Many Troubled Waters

Delivering the keynote address Saturday at the 50th-anniversary commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Ala., President Obama talked of the America that was, that is, and that is yet to be.

March 7, 1965, when state troopers and local police violently waylaid a peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery calling for federal protection of blacks’ voting rights in Alabama, was both dark and heroic, Obama said, attributing much of black progress—and the progress of American society as a whole—to the civil-rights movement.

Obama’s 32-minute speech, praised effusively by the media and quotable experts for its grandness, statesmanlike tenor and rarified frankness about racism, was also revisionist history, an artful dodging of government’s responsibility (including his own administration) in creating and maintaining inequality and injustice, a crass implication that blacks caused the Republican sweep in the midterm elections, and using a solemn moment to drill for votes to recoup Democratic losses.

Leid Stories decodes Obama’s Selma speech.  

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