tv Selma March Commemorative Church Service CSPAN March 8, 2015 11:46am-1:48pm EDT
thank you. >> thank you so much. we invite everybody upstairs now for a reception from a book signing, and if your questions we know that john would be happy to answer them when he is situated with a drink. thank you so much. [applause] >> you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> we are live from selma
alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday when voting rights advocates on a march were met with violence from alabama state troopers and local police. starting here shortly, the commemorative church service in the historic brown chapel ame church, the starting point for that sum-montgomery marches. expect to hear today from eric holder andrew young, martin luther king the third, reverend al sharpton, and alabama congressman, whose district includes soma. that is expected to start shortly here in selma, alabama. ♪ down by the riverside down by the riverside
martin luther king the third, reverend al sharpton. during this commemorative church service on the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. also, yesterday president obama and congressman john lewis attended the ceremony and selma, alabama. you can find coverage on our website, c-span.org/history. we will be showing this later this afternoon and this evening. if you missed any of our coverture today.
>> live in selma, alabama, 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. we are in the historic brown chapel ame church are a number of speakers. while we are waiting for the speakers to arrive, including attorney general eric holder and civil rights leader andrew young , we will take a look back 50 years. president lyndon johnson spoke to a joint session of congress a week after bloody sunday, and here is part of his speech that focused on voting rights. this would be recorded march 15 1965.
>> even if we passes bill, the battle will not be over. what happened in selma is part of a larger movement that reaches into every section and state of america. it is the effort of american negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of american life. their cause must be our cause two. it's not just negroes, but really it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice, and we shall overcome. [applause]
as a man whose roots go deeply into southern soil, i know how agonizing racial feelings are. i know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society. but a century has passed, more than 100 years, since the negro was free. and he is not fully freed tonight. it was more than 100 years ago that abraham lincoln, a great president of another party
signed the emancipation proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact. a century has passed, more than 100 years, since he quality was promised, and yet, the negro is not equal. a century has passed since that day of promise and the promises uncapped. -- unkept. the time of justice has come. and i take you that i believe sincerely that no force can hold it. it is right in the eyes of man and god that it should,, and when it does, i think that day
will brighten the lives of every american. [applause] four negroes are not the only victims. how many white children have gone uneducated? how many white families have lived in stark poverty? how many white lives have been scarred by fear because we have wasted our energy and substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror? [applause] and so i say to all of you here and all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to
hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. this great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all all black and white, all north and south sharecropper and city dweller. these are the enemies poverty ignorance disease. they are the enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor, and these enemies to, poverty, disease, and ignorance, we shall
overcome. >> you can watch the speech in its entirety at 4:00. we will have that here on american history tv. we are bringing you live to selma, alabama. the brown chapel a.m.e. church. the starting point for the selma -montgomery marches. we will hear from eric holder, civil rights leader andrew young, martin luther king iii, reverend al sharpton including -- and congresswoman teri sewell . we will take a look at programs coming up today. including q&a on a companion network c-span. >> you can see, what they would call when i was a kid a -- or a
stickball. washington was a large man. six-foot. very robust. terrific natural athlete. madison is a skinny little guy. >> the sunday august -- this sunday on "q&a. " >> his guests that i write most about is his ability to make remarkable partnerships. it also alludes to his gift to the country, of his talents, and what he was able to do to create the first self-sustaining constitutional republic. >> sunday night on c-span q&a. the political landscape has changed with the 114 congress.
not only are there 43 numeral republicans and 15 new democrats in the house, and 12 new republicans and one new democrat in the senate, there are also a new women -- eight new women. keep track of the congress using the congressional chronicle page . it has a lot of useful information, including voting results and statistics. new congress best access on c-span, c-span 2, c-span radio and c-span.org. the c-span city store takes booktv and "american history tv" on the road to learn about cities literary life and history. this week, we partner with comcast to go to galveston, texas. >> the rising tide, the rising when through them.
they watched in amazement as both of these factors battered the beachfront structures. at the time, we had wooden bat houses out over the gulf of mexico. we also had piers, and a huge pavilion, called olympia by the seed. as the storm increased in intensity, the structures turned into matchsticks. the 1900 storm struck galveston saturday, september 8, 1900. the storm began before noon increased in germanic intensity and finally tapered off toward midnight. that evening. this hurricane was and still is, the deadliest recorded natural event in the history of the united states.
>> watch all of our events from galveston, today at 2:00 eastern on c-span 3. >> live here at the historic brown chapel a.m.e. church in some a alabama on the 50th anniversary of the selma-montgomery marches. >> thank god for holy ground that helps us to find the best in each other and faced the worst in life and try to make the best out of it. amen. now, i need to ask again for help. there are so many of us here and god knows it is a good thing. it means we will half to -- have to self impose on ourselves just be nice to each other.
if you will help us to do that, we will not only get through but it will be good in the process. i apologize that there is not enough room for everybody. we want to worship this morning. amen. we have -- we had programs f or morning worship and we have run out of those. we have some commemorative 50th anniversary edition souvenir booklets that we were going to wait until after the service was over and sell them for $35 each. [laughter] they have pictures.
some of the renown spider martin pictures which his daughter, tracy, has been good enough to allow us to use. in the center section, there is a copy of the program. as you are so good, nice, and wonderful, and set of waiting to sell them for $35, we are going to make them available for five minutes for $10. [applause] they are outside there. outside the door there. if you raise her hand, are usher will be kind enough to bring you want. we are only going to do that for five minutes. five minutes only. we are going to do it --
take them in the back. i don't want them out here. they will be in the back. in the back. i don't want to do that in here now. i don't want to do it in here. i don't want to do it in here. all the way in the back. yes, ma'am. while they are doing that, let me make sure, mrs. reeves -- mrs. and reeves, where are you? they are delayed. are they going to make it? >> [indiscernible] >> will you accept on their behalf if they are not here?
mrs. -- where are your family members? jimmy lee jackson his family, where are you? good. reverend peter more hours -- morales, where are you? i was not able to get you on the program. you have minutes while they are doing that. come here, quickly. many who answered it dr. king's call to come to selma, they were unitarian universalists. reverend morales is a national president of the organization.
he has come all the way here today, in the same spirit in which others came here. i apologize to him -- i couldn't, i got the word too late -- buys are what you two have come this far -- very quickly, very quickly. >> i can do that quickly. it is an honor to be here. there are hundreds of unitarian universalists who have been gathering and birmingham and are here today. james reeves is one of our ministers. a member of our congregation. throughout this time, not only was this 50 years ago
transformative in our nation, it was actually a transformative thing for you unitarian universalist, who finally made a big jump and walking are talking around civil rights and as really shaped our own move it. we continue to be dedicated to justice. thank you for what you are doing. we are your partners forever. [applause] >> thank you. thank you so much. i want to recognize reverend olson who was a companion of reverend reeves on the ninth that he was brutally beaten, and ultimately passed away. reverend olson was with them. [applause] amen. i want to recognize our congresswoman, congresswoman teri sewell, a member of this
church. [applause] let them know we are ready. i'm going to ask that as soon as the participants break the door here ushers, you will cease doing that and move that to the back. mr. perry. as soon as the participants break that door. >> as they are getting set up here making announcements and getting ready for the commemorative ceremony, just reminding you that you will be hearing from attorney general eric holder, the reverend al sharpton, as well as alabama congresswoman teri sewell, whose district includes selma.
they are all here for the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday when voting rights advocates march from selma to montgomery, alabama and were met with violence from state troopers and police. once they start with the commemorative ceremony, we will bring you back here. in the meantime, we will take a look at some of the history and culture of galveston, texas. ♪
>> the emancipation proclamation was signed into law in 1862 to go into effect, january 1, 1863. the words, the enforcement of the emancipation proclamation did not go into effect here in the south until 2.5 years after the effective date. african-american slaves couldn't read. it was against the law for them to be able to read. so, i don't think they knew about it. the union troops arrived in galveston on june 18, 1865.
it was 2000 union soldiers, along with the general. some of the slaves, once they heard they were free, were jubilant. others were depressed because they are never been on their own. they do have a place to go. they didn't have any money to purchase anything. a lot of the slaves stayed at first baptist church, which was established in 1840. we are at the villa the first brick mansion constructed on galveston island. it was constructed in 1859. this place also served as the residence for the confederate army, then later general garden rangers residence when he arrived on june 18, 1865.
we had been having a celebration here for 36 years. a coincided with the state of texas holiday juneteenth. the texas day holiday occurred by an african-american representative, by the name of out and out -- name of al edwards of houston, texas. he remembered growing up the celebration of juneteenth, so he introduced a law making that a paid holiday. there were only a african-american legislators black legislators, in the legislator. his bill passed. it was signed into law. it went into effect june 13, 1979. it was mainly here in the south where the celebration was -- you
had major celebration. today, you have big celebrations in milwaukee, los angeles, washington, dc, new york, san antonio. there are a lot -- over 40 states. we had been told that there are at least five foreign countries that even celebrate the juneteenth emancipation day. this date is very important because it showed that even though texas is a southern state, it had compassion for the african-american's struggle of slavery. ♪
>> this was built in 1877 in aberdeen, scotland. she is classified as a barge. she has three masts. she was a merchant ship. she was part of that vast british conglomerate of sailing vessels that sailed around the world. she was more of a trap sailor in other words, there were ships that were a lot bigger than she was. i like to tell people that she was the equivalent of a ups truck or a fedex truck. she was not a big 18 wheeler. her niche was to go into under develop ports, she could go into the port, offload her cargo and that's how she made her living.
>> she rolls! >> with the opening of the suez canal in 1869, sailing ships were almost dealt a death blow. with that opening of the canal, coal-fired shoulds had a shorter route to the far east, to india to all of those markets. sailing ships really needed to find a way to make their own living. instead of high-value cargo, they started carrying lower value cargoes, coal, oil, cotton etc. elissa found her niche in carrying any type of cargo that did not require getting to market at a very fast pace. ellissa's connection to galveston is really unique. she sailed and arrived here in galveston, probably about 100 yards from where we are
standing right now with a cargo for our bananas. she came a second time later in the 1880's, in 1886, and it was real important for the galveston historical foundation to find other so with -- to find a vessel with a connection. >> in that 1970's, she had been at sea for about 100 years from what we can ascertain, she has one of the longest careers. the galveston historical foundation was made aware of elissa and a connection to galveston, and the gears were put into motion to purchase the
ship. she was purchased and brought to galveston in 1979 and the complete restoration of the ship began. we have our adult seamanship training. what the year, we take the vessel out in the gulf of mexico . it is one thing reading about sailing in books, but to actually climbed the rig and feel the ship breathe and move while you are sailing is a unique opportunity and available to people who join our volunteer program here. >> back live now to some selma alabama for the events commemorating the 50th anniversary when voting rights activists were met with violence by state troopers and
>> we shall continue to praise god as we recite a litany from the pen of bishop adam j richardson the 115th of elected bishop of the african methodist episcopal church. join me in the litany from selma to montgomery. the voting rights acts, brown's chapel and 50 years. 50 years ago, leaders and such soldiers -- foot soldiers said,
let us go to the brown chapel african methodist at the school church. the march four voting rights will begin within its sacred walls. the forces of reason and courage men and expir inspiration will reverberate from wall-to-wall. martin luther king junior, malcolm x, and other prophetic voices. >> [indiscernible] >> march 7, 1965 was the first sunday. the brown chapel congregation would have knelt to receive the
blessed sacrament of holy communion, remembering that christ died. without the shedding of blood there is no remission. it was an eject on the first passover, and calgary on good friday, in selma on, or near the edmund pettus bridge . we offer great thanksgiving to god for the ultimate sacrifice of jesus, and for those who paid for freedom with blood. >> [indiscernible] >> from the front steps of the brown chapel in selma to the front steps of the capitol in montgomery i determine people
march, young and old, black and white, i met all and skeptics to to make their voices heard and make their votes count. >> [indiscernible] >>a half a century later, the struggle continues. montgomery was the destination the right to vote was the cause. liberation was the reason. violent and mean man stood on the wrong side of history that they now famously called "bloody sunday." the right to vote is now being met with voter suppression strategies extrajudicial death sentences are being enacted on
lack men. and we are reminded that black lives matter. >> [indiscernible] >> there is so much to remember about the brown chapel's documented part in the movie and the part of plate in the voting rights act of 1965 and the president has had since. however, brown chapel is not a museum. neither is the ame church as a whole. clutching relics to claim a place in history. we are what we were meant to be from the beginning. house of worship. place of study. a holy place to champion the
but, o god, we come also in gratitude and in worship. god, remove us from the things that would distract us. and distract us from serving you with our whole heart. move us away from envy and jealousy. move us from spite. oh god, move us to a level where love and peace flows like the blood flows on bloody sunday. oh god, keep us ever looking forward. if we should look back, help us to look back to reflect and to
remember so that we can go forward into a new day. into a new beginning. even into a new way. bless us, o lord, as we come to this place. consecrate us to your service. oh lord, move on the altars of our heart so that even in this moment, we can worship you with our whole heart. oh god, when you do, we will be careful to give you the credit and glory of all that has been done here, there, and everywhere . in jesus's name, we pray. amen. ♪
>> this morning's old testament scripture is from the book of articles chapter seven versus 12-22. the lord appeared to him at night and said, i have heard your prayer and choose an this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. when i shut off the heaven so there is no rain to devour the land, or a plague among my people. it is my people that are called by my name. humble themselves, for a, seek my fa from their wicked ways, then i will hear from heaven and heal their sins. my eyes will be open and my ears to the prayers in this place. i have chosen this temple so
that my name will be there forever. my eyes and my heart will always be there. as for you, if you want before me -- walk before me as your father did, and observe my decrees and laws, i will establish the royal throne as i did with david, your father. you shall never fail to have a man rule. if you turn away and go off to serve other gods and worship done, then i will uproot israel from my land which i have given them. i have consecrated in my name. i will make it an object of ridicule among all people. and although this temple is now so imposing. all that passed by will be a call and say why has the lord then such a thing to this land and this temple.
the people will -- that is why he brought all this disaster on them. may the lord bless the reading. >> amen. >> the reading this morning counts from the book of romans chapter eight versus 24-48. for in this hope we were saved but hope that is seen is no hope at all. who hope for what -- hope for what he already has? is we hope for what we do not already have, we wait for it patiently. in the same way, the spirit
helps us in its wings. we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit itself sees for us. he searches are hard -- our heart. the spirit intercedes with the saints in accordance with god's will. we know in all things, god works for the good of the people who love him and had been called according to his purposes. this is the word of the lord. >> amen. >> the new testament reading from matthew, chapter seven verse 15-37. listen for the word of the lord. watch out for false prophets.
they come to you in sheep's clothing. edward lee, they are ferocious wolves. by their fruit, you will recognize them. do people pick grapes from thorn bushes? likewise, every good tree bears good fruit. but a that tree bears bad fruit. a good tree cannot there good fruit and apache are not bear good fruit. every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them. not everyone who says to me lord, lord, will enter into the kingdom, but those who follow the will of the my father who is in heaven, many will say to me
on that day, lord, lord, did we not prophesied in your faith and in your name drive our demons and perform many miracles? then, i will tell them plainly, i never knew you, away from me, you evildoers. therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who held his house on the rock. the rain came down, the wind blew and damage that house, but yet it did not fall. it had its foundation on the rock. everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a fullest man -- foolish man who built his house on the sand.
>> they gathered. they gathered at the foot of the bloody cross and then they were ready to go and march across a bloody bridge on a day that is now famous as bloody sunday. it all began with worship. amen. the church has got to be the church. the church has still got to be the church. got to be the church. let me say very quickly to move
us along, i want to recognize the eminent t archbishop of the greek orthodox church of america. [applause] distinguish attorney general will be presented by the director -- director shaun donovan, director of the office of management and budget. amen. and i want to acknowledge the presence of my bishop and his family. amen. he is -- [applause] he is the reason i am here. [laughter] i had exhausted my options, i
guess, within some frameworks and had -- and stood in need of spiritual resuscitation. [laughter] he happened. and i want to thank him. he is the presiding bishop of the district almost 300 churches in the state of alabama. he is the chairperson of the department of employee security for the african methodist applicable church with investments -- methodist episcopal church, with investments exceeding $10 million. he is the chairperson of the
general board planning commission of the african methodist at this global church -- episcopal church he has, as we have known, become a truly serving leadership. we have a crude acquisitions at over $14 million. the daniel payne legacy plaza in birmingham. it is all paid for. [applause] if you are an ame anywhere in the house, you can appreciate that. amen. i just want to thank him for the opportunity to serve here. i want to acknowledge -- if you would just wave your hand, his wife. thank you so much for being here. [applause]
for there is no other place i would rather be at this hour than in the house of the lord. >> amen. >> before i say what i want to say, which will be quick, i must say how proudly i am to once again have -- i am proud to have my wife and our daughter here with us. [applause] the only grandchild of martin and coretta king. i was asked to do a tribute, and it has been 50 years, but i am not feeling like a tribute because i find it challenging to
celebrate -- yes, we celebrate so many who -- some gave their lives and others walked over the bridge yesterday 50 years ago and were beaten badly but when we think about what martin luther king, jr. would want us to do, i imagine he would tell us that our work was not done. it has certainly been 50 years and there are so many here today that would not have been here. cabinet secretary -- that were certainly not here 50 years ago, and i am proud of my own classmate, secretary jeh johnson, secretary security is
here. [applause] but you know, i would have never guessed that just a couple of years ago that our supreme court would dismantle the voting rights act because today we should be celebrating but we cannot celebrate yet, and you know, someone say we idolize dr. king, and yes, we should, but unfortunately, that is not what he wanted us to do. when you idolize summit, you put on the shelf, lifted up, and when king's day comes out, you pull it out and show it. or when black history month comes out, you show it, or when april 4 or other times, you show it, but you see, dad would not want us to idolize. he would want us to embrace his ideals. truth, freedom, justice, and
equality and righteousness. so i am concerned because our voting rights have been decimated. we are a better nation than the behavior that we are exhibiting. to the 100 members of congress joined with the president yesterday, there ought to be legislation that is proposed tomorrow. [applause] we can do it. we ought to first of all make registration online available, not just in 20 states. that is one. number two we might need to consider changing election day from tuesday -- i mean, if you want people not to bundesbank, if you want to throw a -- want people not to participate, if you want to
throw a party, do not throw it on tuesday. why don't we have at least a couple or three days, and at least have one of those days he a weekend day? and then the issue is not an idea. -- a we have always had to bringn id. some forts of idms of id have been changed, so make that hard for some folks to get. so as the ambassador proposed at the johnson ceremonies last year, just put a picture on our social security card. if we have to have a government form of id. those are the three things we can do. the final thing is there is something wrong with us purporting to practice and promote democracy all over the globe, yet suppressing democracy at home. that is inconsistent.
that must change. there is something wrong in a nation where 6 million black men are not allowed to vote because they were convicted of felonies. they paid their dues to society, yet their right to vote is not reinstated. somewhere i heard something about taxation without representation. maybe they should not pay their taxes. if they have no ability to vote. all i am saying is i do not feel like trueibuting. oh that is wonderful. what i will finally say -- and this is final. [laughter] [applause] every time i come to these anniversaries, i think about what dad said in montgomery in 1965, and at the end of the
march, and he talked about how long will it be. he did not know how long, but he said he knew it would not be long because no lie can live forever. how long? not long! because truth forever on the throne, yet that scalpel is keeping watch. how long? not long! because no lie can live forever. how long? not long! because god almighty is still on the throne, keep keeping on. we are going to be all right. we're not there yet. [cheers and applause] >> we are going to have special
remarks from two members of the president's cabinets, taking a point of personal privilege. i just wanted knowledge we have secretary of homeland security, secretary johnson with us and his lovely wife. please stand. we have secretary tom perez, who is the secretary of labor. [applause] attorney general in the wing, not yet confirmed, not yet sworn in loretta lynch, please stand. [cheers and applause] we look forward to you being the 83rd attorney general of the united states of america. my colleague from the great state of texas, sheila jackson
lee, please stand up. and the director of the national park service, mr. john jarvis, please stand up. and the 82nd attorney general of the united states, eric holder. [cheers and applause] and his lovely wife and son. first of the podium at shaun donovan, director of the office of management and budget, the moneyman for the president. prior to that, he was also the secretary of hud, so he has been a great public servant. shaun donovan. [applause] >> [indiscernible] >> i look forward to that. [laughter] latest and gentlemen, program organizers, the thing was distinguished
guests, good morning. i'm enormously honored to be here this morning to join you in commemorating the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the selma and macmurray march, and i want to particularly thank my friends and a colleague representative terri sewell. let's give her a round of applause. mayor evans as well, thank you both for allowing us to share in this great weekend of celebration. serving bishop james davis ledois strong, thank you all for your inspiration today. before i have the honor of introducing our attorney general , let me say just a few words about this celebration today. 24 years ago, i sat down for
dinner at a chinese restaurant with john lewis. i did that because the next morning, i was part of a group of interracial students that was leaving on the 30th anniversary of the freedom ride t retraced that's a great routeo -- to retraced that sacred route. i was here at my friend, steve dawson, who joins me here from birmingham today, and we went and sat at the lunch counter in greensboro. we went to many of the sites along the sacred route. we brought james farmer to birmingham for the first time that he had been there since the freedom ridews,s, and we crossed the bridge here in selma, alabama.
we wanted to do that because we did not want to just read about that history in a book. we wanted to see with our own eyes, to understand in our own minds, and to feel and our own heatrts what this had menatant for our country, and i remain in my work nearly every in the cabin of president obama inspired by what i learned on that journey. i want to thank the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement who dedicated their lives to the noble legacy that we honor today. it is that legacy that president obama honored yesterday when he signed a bill recognizing the foot soldiers of the civil rights movements, and it is that legacy that makes me proud to announce that the president's
budget, released just last month, proposes $50 million to restore and highlight key civil rights monuments across the country. [cheers and applause] that is right! that is right. this funding includes critical investments in specific national park service sites central to the civil rights movement. the selma to montgomery national historic trail including the xoma interpretive center. the little rock central high school national historic site. the brown v. board of education national historic site.
andy martin luther king, jr. national historic site. these sites are not just critical to southern heritage or african-american history -- they are part of the fabric of our nation's history. >> that is right! >> and as we were so eloquently reminded just a moment ago, they were beacons to freedom fighters around the world. they must be preserved and maintained so that 50 years from now and 50 years from then and 50 years from then we can return and be reminded of the bridges that we have crossed and the battles that we have won. as dr. king famously said, the ark of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and as i stand here today, i believe those words.
each of us in this room and across the country must continue the work to make sure that we again cross those bridges of hope and unity together. i have no doubt that we will. god bless you, thank you for hosting us here today. [applause] and now i have the honor to present you a friend, a colleague, may i say a brother -- >> yeah! >> in the fight of the last six years, your attorney general eric holder. [applause]
>> [inaudible] >> well, good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to thank you all for that kind introduction, and shaun, there are some other stories you could have told the muslim want to thank you for being brief here. [laughter] -- you could have told, so i want to thank you for being brief here. [laughter] pioneers and passionate citizens as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. we dedicate ourselves to the ongoing fight -- the ongoing fight -- for civil rights and
justice. it is a special and humbling honor to speak at this historic chapter. 50 years ago, men and women of good conscience and of strong will met to advance a cause that was written into our founding documents and etched into our highest ideals. within these walls, they spoke of the quality, opportunity, justice, and they also spoke of promises unkept. they made brave and perilous plans to realize age dream that had been too long deferred. they joined together as one community to advance a promise of a nation, and to make that promise real. they did this at a time of great and abiding uncertainty, of deep and dangerous, dangerous threats. in the years prior freedom riders testing anti-segregation laws have been attacked by angry mobs.
ms. malone, who later would become my sister-in-law, had braved george wallace doors to integrate the university of alabama. member ever's had been murdered -- medgar evers had been murdered outside his home. and for young girls, at a may colin, carol what robinson and denise mcnair, four little angels had been killed by the blast of a bomb of the 16th street church, less than 100 miles from here, attending a service entitled "the love that forgives." "the love that forgives." and these contemporary atrocities rested on countless others who had for centuries been subjected to a state-sponsored regime of intimidation and terror.
although the supreme court has struck down segregation laws more than a decade earlier in , innumerable communities enforce laws that kept african americans entirely separate and emphatically on equal. but make no mistake -- the decision made here to move forward with the height of bravery. nowhere was this from a insidious than the barriers african-americans face when attending to cast a ballot. literary tests composed of a discussion of white officials kept many blacks from registering to vote. poll tax, paying to get the necessary documents to vote, paying to get the necessary documents to vote. paying to get the necessary documents to vote. [applause] paying to get the necessary documents to vote. were levied against those who attempted to do so. the list of african-americans overcame obstacles were made
public so that white citizens could identify, intimidate and often violently suppress black voters. although the civil rights act of 1954 had given african american men and women historic protections without adequate political representation and without real, political power people of color continue to be marginalized. stigmatized, brutalized, and denied their very humanity. it was under those circumstances that civil rights leaders courageous advocates, and so-called ordinary citizens were anything but ordinary, who were sick and tired of being sick and tired. they gathered here in selma, a town were only 2% of african americans are registered to vote , in a county in which racist practices were enforced by a notoriously brutal sheriff, now
consigned to others of his kind, and would call for segregation forever. spurred by the murder of jimmy lee jackson -- mjimmie lee jackson, an unarmed young black man. an unarmed young black man. [applause] an unarmed young black man. an earlier movement began, and citizens began in march from selma to montgomery, across a bridge that was named for former alabama senator, confederate general, and grand wizard in the ku klux klan. it was a march along a road that promised to be not straight, a road that led through difficult terrain, a road that had been traveled by generations whose footsteps still echo through
history. a march through the injustice of plessisy v. ferguson. march to the read the era of slavery by another name, and the dark days of jim crow. march past but they always thought peculiar institutions and a strange, horrific fruit. they were met with suspicion hostility, and hatred, and still they marched on. though their feet were tired their souls were restless. though their bodies eggs, there will was strong. -- ached, thei willr was strong. though they were driven back by violent resistance by alabama officers willing wits, billy clubs, and their bare fists they refused to give up, get out, or given. still they marched on.
and with the relentless drumbeat of their footsteps they didn't thebent the arc of the moral universe a little further toward justice. a dubious congress and a great president to work with my great predecessor to sign into law the voting rights act of 1965. [applause] one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in american history. over the last six years as attorney general of the united states, i've had the duty and the privilege, and also the responsibly and the sacred honor, of enforcing and defending this law and the legacy of all those who made it and who made me possible. [applause] i am proud to say that the department of justice that i lead has aggressively worked to
safeguard the right to vote and to extend its promised to every eligible voter. and yes, it has been clear in recent years that fair and free access to the franchise is still in some areas under siege. shortly after the historic election of president obama in 2008, numerous states and jurisdictions attempted to impose rules and laws that had the effect of restricting americans' opportunity to vote particularly in disproportionately communities of color. in 2013, a narrowly divided and a profoundly flawed supreme court ruling undermined section 5 of the voting rights act and dealt a serious blow to a cornerstone of americans' civil rights law. in its majority opinion, the supreme court wrote that the situation covered regions that had "changed dramatically."
and that because of gains made, particularly by african-americans since the voting rights act when into effect, vital preclearance protections that had required federal review, changes to voting procedures in regions with a history of discrimination, should no longer be applied. but as justice ruth bader ginsburg wrote in her striking dissent, let me quote that " throwing up preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet." [applause] now, let me be very clear -- while the court's decision removed one of the justice department's most effective tools, we remain undaunted, and undeterred, and our pursuit of a meaningful right to vote of every eligible american. since the court's ruling, we have used the remaining
provisions of the voting rights act to fight back against voting restrictions in states throughout the country, and we have won. we won under the old act we won under the new act will stop you come up with another one, we will win again. [applause] in texas we have sought to block as discriminatory a strict photo identification law and two statewide redistricting plans. in north carolina, our next attorney general was born, we brought a sweeping election statute that imposes a needlessly restrictive voter identification requirement that reduces early voting opportunities and limits same-day registrations during early voting. but it is not just in the south. in ohio, wisconsin on behalf of tribal nations in montana and south dakota, we have supported
plaintiffs challenging a wide array of voting restrictions under the voting rights act. we have also successfully led a gated cases to protect the rights -- think about this, you have got to litigate to attack the rights of our military and overseas voters to register to vote by absentee ballots in federal elections. but the justice department is also working hard outside the courtroom. given their historic origin let's understand where these laws come from. given the historic origins and their pernicious impact, i have voted to lift -- millions of american citizens who were convicted of felonies, who has served their sentence -- [cheers and applause] >> all right!
>> who have served their sentences, repay their debt to society, in order to help them rejoin their communities and reclaim their futures. i am proud of the work done by the department of justice, and i know that my successor, loretto lynch -- [applause] joined by a great deputy attorney general, sally yates. stand up sally. [applause] atlanta, you are right atlanta as well as a great associate attorney general, stuart ellery they will continue to fight aggressively on behalf of this sacred rights, but also recognize that the justice department cannot lead this fight alone. for more than two centuries this nation has been built and improved both by and for the people.
from the framers of a revolution to the engineers of emancipation , from the women working and walking for suffrage, to the marches for selma. generation after generation, our slow and arduous progress has always been of our own making, and today this progress is entrusted to each of us. a man who believes in an equal america, everyone can save the future of a nation, that in a fair america, no one is too small to deserve equal treatment under the law, and no one is powerful enough to escape it, and that in a just america we can do no less than deliver fully and without reservations a promise of this country's democracy to all. this means standing up. this means speaking out for the civil rights which everyone in his country is entitled. it means calling attention to persistent disparities and
inequities, and it means working tirelessly to safeguard and to exercise -- exercise! -- the right to vote. [applause] the people whose names you see on that plaque over there did not die for the right to vote so that people would not exercise that right. right? as you leave this chapel today you look at those names, and you think about those people. and every time is a little too windy, little too cold, a little too rainy, you have got something else to do, you think about them, and you think about all the other people who gave so much so that we would have the right to vote, and you get out there and you vote. >> amen. [applause] >> at the conclusion of the
final march to montgomery on the steps of the alabama state capitol, dr. king called for a society at peace with itself. we have made once unimaginable progress in the half-century since he spoke those words, and the to acknowledge that is an insult to those we must always honor and hold in our hearts. the fact that i stand here today , 50 years after heroes like reverend hosea williams, amelia boynton, and congressman john lewis were beaten by alabama state troopers, i stand today as the 82nd and first african american attorney general of the united states, serving -- [cheers and applause] serving in the administration of the first african american president -- [tears and applause] to be succeeded by the first
african american woman as attorney general -- [cheers and applause] this is a cause for great optimism, and it is a sign of tremendous progress, but progress is not the ultimate goal. equality is still the prize. still even now it is clear that we have more work to do, that our beloved community has not yet been formed, and that our society is not yet at a just peace. i have no excitations that our goals will be simple to achieve or the challenges will be easily overcome, i know our road will be long and we have many obstacles that will stand in our way, but i have no doubt that if we stand together come if we walk together, if we believe as we always have come in the power of our ideals and the force of our shared community not only our cause, not only our cause, but our country shall overcome. half a century ago, it was said
that nothing could stop the marching feet of a determined people. well today, 50 years after bloody sunday, we stand together once again as a people. we are no less determined, and we will march on. we will march on until the self-evident truth of equality is made real for every american. we will march on until every citizen is afforded his or her fundamental right to vote. we will march on tour that bright horizon, to the day when all americans, young or old, rich or poor, famous or unknown no matter who they are, no matter where they are from, no matter what they look like, no matter who they love has an equal share in the american dream, and till justice rolls down like a mighty stream, we will march on. we will march because change is not inevitable, progress is not preordained. our history teaches us that hard work and perseverance in spite
of the inevitable setbacks are the only method to obtain that to which we are all entitled. while my time in the department of justice will soon draw to a close, i want you to know that no matter what i do or where my own journey takes me, i will never leave this work. i will never abandon this mission. [applause] but understand this -- neither can you. [applause] if we are to honor those who came before us and those who are still among us, we must match their sacrifice, their effort with our own. times change. issues seem different. the solutions are timeless and they are tested. western authority and the old ways. work. struggle. challenge entrenched power. persevere.
overcome. in galatians 6:9, it is said let us not become weary of doing good for we shall reap a harvest if we do not give up. if we do not give up. >> amen. >> be assured that i will always work beside you as we seek to build a more perfect union in a more just society that all americans deserve. thank you once again for your steadfast support, for your passionate engagement, and for your unwavering devotion to this country and this cause. as we join together, as we forge ahead, and as our people before, as we march on. [cheers and applause]
♪ >> we want to thank attorney general holder for being with us. he has done such an outstanding job. [applause] for centuries, lady justice has been the iconic statue standing sentinel outside of courthouses and law schools and libraries wherever issues of the legal system were being debated, and it might be appropriate now to consider switching that statute now from lady justice to one of eric holder.
>> get up! >> good afternoon, everyone. i know the protocol has already been said, but just let me take the liberty to acknowledge the pastor here of this church pastor strong. [applause] as well as other members of this church and members and ministers who are in the pulpit, our special guests, certainly the foot soldiers of the movement and all these icons that surround us across the elected
officials as well as officials who are appointed. i am certainly proud to stand before you again today to bring you greetings as well as welcome for all of you being here in the city of soelma once again as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement. i would like to say that on behalf of the citizens of selma which is about 20,700+ citizens i bring you greetings and welcome on behalf of them as well as the city council members. i would like to say also that our city of selma is an old city, incorporated in 2018. 2018. oh, since the 1820's. i apologize. [laughter] i got a little ahead. 1820.
certainly as we go through this history, pegasus, what, about 195 years old roughly? incorporated because there was already something there, but it became a incorporated, and i made is the third oldest city in alabama, monbile one, montgomery second and selma third. anytime i come to this church, i become full. i have hit it for a long time. my mother went to this church all of her life. she passed way some years ago, many years ago but always on mother's day when she was alive any and even since she left us, i always come to this church on mother's day. the movement going on, and some
of it got to me a little, i want to thank nadi andne passing inapt and because -- thank nadine and passing me a napkin because i was caught up. let me just say as this movement is continued, it is one that certainly, even though -- in spite of all of that, and at this moment right now, i want to give special tribute to -- [applause] for th allegiance andeir steadfastness to keep this thing alive. i'm not going to tell you that we always agree ok? we have not always agreed on issues, but we have managed to work through it, and it has
worked out because working together works. they have done a brilliant job of keeping things alive and moving. let me say to you that i believe that god has shown favor to selma, alabama. i believe it. there is so much that has gone on in selma over the last year that you will not believe the phenomenal things that have happened. sel is a wonderful city to live inma -- selma is a wonderful city to live in. trust me on that. people are working hard and building new families, new families are coming every day. people say, "your city is dying." i have never heard of a city dying when businesses are reestablishing everyday. when you have a taco tbell that was demolished and build larger, a burger king, a
wendy's, and then we have industries that have all kinds of jobs for citizens who can master the trade. many of our job opportunities come as a people are not able to have a skill level, ok, so we have plenty of jobs in selma. our schools in selma are now going into the schools and working with the middle-aged children, the middle school children and working with them because that is what it is going to take. and so a lot of people come from selma are from out of town, but in the last two years, they have begun working in the schools with the teachers and the children, so they will know what is needed in those industries so they will have a better chance of survival. yesterday was an awesome day in our city. it will not happen again -- this
50th will never happen again. we certainly had tremendous speakers. the first lady of these united states and the governor of our state, and so many others, our congresswoman, and so many other people spoke, and god shined a beautiful day on us. no doubt about it. [applause] i am told in the numbers the metal detectors that we went through, over 41,000 people went through those metal detectors yesterday. that is 41,000. that is an accurate count. and actually over 20,000 some people who just did not make it around, so over 60,000 some people in selma, alabama yesterday, which is accompanying all that is going on, and i t y