tv Selma March Commemorative Church Service CSPAN March 31, 2015 3:06am-5:47am EDT
>> let me thank god this day 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 proud 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. 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]
>> 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 all for being here. i just want to say again that this movement that we are going now, and i'm coming to a close is that it did not just start
here in selma, remember? it in birmingham with those four little girls, right? and then it moved on to marion where jimmie lee jackson was killed. and then it moved onto selma and then it moves onto montgomery so we celebrate all of that because that is the big picture of where we are today and what is going on. i salute all of those cities and those citizens who pay that price. i wanted to certainly give a shout out, i do not think he is here -- i saw secretary of hud mr. julian castro was here, and he and his administrative team have done an outstanding job of working with us in terms of trying to find ways to improve this community and build
neighborhood communities by finding grants and money to do that so i am elated about that. i am thankful for his presence he visited a lot of places in the city along with michael we've had some great is his, and that is all because of our congresswoman sewell. congresswoman sewell asked him to come as we try to find a difference in the city, and i thank you, congresswoman. and lastly i thank all of you for being here, thank you for coming to selma, and i hope you will come up again when we are not so crowded. [applause] come back and take advantage of the city. i talked to attorney general holder and had a chance to meet his son. he is a basketball player. he is 6'4", and he plays best of
all, so at a chance to meet him and talk to him. i want to invite all of you to come back again, please. come back when you are not so busy. come back and visit city streets, the historical moments ♪ monuments and buildings and structures andin selma. thank you very much, and i appreciate the opportunity. [applause] >> train up a child in the way she will go, and when she is older, she shall not depart. to all of those who are assembled here, welcome to the historic brown chapel ame church, my home church. [applause] i want to thank pastor strong for his visionary leadership and all that he has done for this great congregation, and i would like all of the members of brown chapel who are with us today to
stand so that you can see the wonderful congregation that has nurtured me. please stand. members of the historic brown travel ame church. [applause] we have a lot of visitors here today. well, do know that this is an amazing church, not only because of what it meant to the movement, but because the heart and soul of this church is the heart and soul of selma and it is without that i'm so honored to represent. i'm going to help us cut some time, so i am not going to talk long. i am going to say, though, it neverk , ever -- it is beyond my thought that i know i stand here because of 50 years ago, people were not afraid to march.
and it was with great admiration that i invited amelia boynton to be my guest at the state of the union this year. amelia boyton was 105 years old. she was the one in the movie who wore the cat glasses who told karen. king that she was repaired that she was the descendent of kings and queens that the blood that flowed through her veins survives. amelia boynton said it best. when president obama sat down to kiss her, he said to her mrs. boynton, i get to deliver a speech in a few minutes as the president of the united states of america, and it is all because of you. and she looked up at him, i am in tears, she looked up at him and she said "make it a good one." [laughter] [applause] and so i simply say to all of us
who are direct beneficiaries every cabinet member that is sitting here, every elected official throughout this nation, every state, local official throughout this nation, every citizen throughout this nation in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the selma to montgomery march, we owe it to those bush soldiers -- those foot sholdiers, to make it a duty that we make a good one. [applause] >> to the bishops of the church, outstanding ministers from around the nation and the world to my friend and brother reverend al sharpton, who will
deliver to us the morning message. we are indebted to you for your service. you grow, you grow, you grow. i do not want us to take for granted a couple of things. number one, it was not this long ago that we were marching for the right to vote, not long ago that we had lost 1000 jobs in one month. our banks collapsed, the bottom fell out. more americans today have health care, who would be dead if it were not for medication, ever before. [applause] now, brothers and sisters, do not take president barack obama for granted. stand on your feet and express your cells. stand on your feet and express your cells. do not taken for granted.
express yourself. for the jobs, for the justice on your feet. i mean, put your hands together like you really mean it. [applause] i was blessed to be here 50 years ago. sister lynch had been hit in the mouth, when out of the side door, and we saw the sheriff going down the other street. we got in the car and rushed down and said turn left, and there was an open door, and i jumped out of the car and ran a house, and a lady said somebody is in my house, and i said yes ma'am we are with dr. king, and she said are you sure, and we said yes, and she came downstairs trembling, and she said can i trust y'all, and we said yes ma'am, and she said are you sure.
we said yes. she said that when officials asked my boss do he know them, he lied, and i was washing rice, and i did not say nothing, and i could not say nothing, but when the man left, these guys followed him, and they came in with blood on their sticks, and we rushed over to mrs. boy nton's house where dr. king was in bed, and they had robert kennedy on the phone at that time, and they found the killer rather quickly because of making things happen. [applause] why that moment means so much to me to go by her house now and see her house condemned, i hope some of that money is spent on making another historic site. it is where dr. king stated, it
is where andy young state. right now, there are homes without running water -- today. there are homes right down there with boards rather than windowpanes today. with all of the glory of the promise of selma, 40% of the people in the county are in poverty. 62% of the children are in poverty. the governor, while he close and -- glows and basks in the sunshine yesterday, he takes money from the department of education and spend it on jails he rejects $9 billion in medicaid money while one million americans, one million alabamans are in poverty. those wolves who wear sheep's clothing must be called out because our struggle is not
over. my feelings have been altered now, that's i cannot -- thus i cannot celebrate. the rhythm was -- in slavery, he got out in 1870, he had the protected right to vote, the troops were there, the protected right to vote, the deal was cut, the troops left, then tierney came and the courts ruled. the rule since 1965 has been gutted, therefore without the oversight and protection, they are drawing lines of they made every southern state a confederate state again. they marginalize so that -- in the paper yesterday, it said the blacks will vote more, powers wanes.
that means apartheid results. there is a radical re- segregation taking place in our society today. a radical re-segregation, therefore as we fight that fight together. let me say quickly that there is something about this moment that is awesome in the sense that we are facing the radical explosion of wealth and poverty. poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. [applause] people who live in poverty and squalor cannot grow, they cannot be educated, and in this state 25% black pollock elation and 75 -- black population and 75% prison isolation come in small towns like ferguson, they are making money off of prisoners, of people there who avoid going to jail. those who have been to jail now do prison labor, and the prisons are a profit system.
more have lost the right to vote in the state than the difference between the election candidates for governor. we cannot look in the mirror. selma is in the mirror. selma is in the mirror. selma is in the mirror and it is bright because we want. shelby is in the windshield and it's dark. the supreme court law those congresspeople who came yesterday to be with president barack obama, they must go back and do their legislation of johnson and we had the demonstration led by the freedom riders. the longer it gets cold, the more likely we are to be suffering for a long time on the streets without protection.
we have two needs today. one is the restoration of the voting rights act section four and the registration of the war on poverty. don't let anything break your spirit, four hours is built upon a faith, upon a god who does not forsake us. we are blessed to have leadership in like we have had before. the headwinds are more violent than before. somehow, someway, we can make it. we made it yesterday with so little resources but so much of faith. let nothing break your spirit. we thank this church for being a constant house of prayer. god bless you and keep hope alive. [applause]
>> thank you. it is an honor to be here at this moment in this great church. it's a little nerve-racking to follow reverend jackson, but it is an honor to be here. i want to thank and honor all the bishops and clergy leaders in this church, all the dignitaries and leaders from the administration, from congress and of course, the people of selma and the people of this church who so hospitably have welcomed us. i want to especially make sure i think the pastor of this church reverend strong. this is not easy, but he is done, natalie today but through this entire weekend as he has done it with tremendous integrity and strength. i thank him for it. [applause] i am the president and director council of the naacp legal defense fund. the organization first created
an steward it by the great thurgood marshall. [applause] lbs and selma go back a long way. it was lgf working with brilliant and courageous local counsel who represented the activist who marched and selma. lgf helped create the plan for that final march from selma to montgomery. we litigated the case in the trial court and court of appeals . we come here every year, not just this year, to commemorate the opening of democracy in this country because that is what the boating rice is -- it has ushered in the voting rights act in this country. yesterday, we held a unity reception at which we brought back some of the original lawyers who represented the activist. they spoke with students about what it means to commit yourself in a lifelong way to improving this country and working for equality and justice. having that conversation in this church reminded me of the
importance of institutions. it has become fashionable to scorn institutions, but if the truth be known, none of us would be where we are today without three core institutions -- the black church, hbc you -- hbcu's, and our civil rights organizations. [applause] we think they are always going to be there, so i say all of that to say i know reverend jackson later will list the offspring, but when i saw many visitors were here, i just have to say i hope you will support this church. you are here receiving this incredible blessing and this church has its own needs and this community has needs in this church remains an anchor of this community. i expect and hope you will not tip this church but instead
honor this church for the tremendous work they have done. in hebrews, chapter 11, the word reminds of -- reminds us that faith is the substance of things unseen and -- excuse me, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. all of the people who marched across that bridge, all of the people who came before us, including thurgood marshall and the leaders of my organization, for people who walked in faith they imagined in america they had never seen and they worked for a because they know the word also says eighth without work is dead. faith without works is dead. so what are we called to today? we are called to have faith. we are called to believe we can create an america we have not yet seen. we are called to believe we can create an america of a quality.
we are called to believe there will be an america in which our young men will not have to fear the police. we believe there is a day in which we will walk with dignity free from racial profiling. we have that faith that someday it will be true, but we know it will not be true without our work. i come today to thank the leadership of this church for having us here, and also for having you take up the charge of the work. to honor with those people did on the bridge, by doing what you must do today -- they did what they did under the threat of dogs billy clubs and tear gas. you must do what you have to do today. i'm asking you to do three things that you can do them easily. we all applauded for our next attorney general, but her confirmation vote will likely be this week. you can pick up the phone on monday morning and call your united states senators and tell them --
[applause] that they must confirm the first african american woman attorney general. you heard about the congresspeople out of the bridge just today. we are asking for an amendment to the voting rights act to fix what the supreme court did in the shelby case. [applause] it was the naacp legal defense fund that represented the client in shelby and they were there with us yesterday on that bridge. we have to honor the sacrifice they made and the sacrifice made 50 years ago by ensuring the voting rights act remains strong. here is what we are asking for. we want a hearing and the house to talk about the bill and they won't even give us a hearing. i'm asking is part of your homework, call your representative and tell them you demand a hearing on the amendment to the voting rights act. [applause]
then the third and final piece of homework is about policing. it's about your obligation to ensure law enforcement or community is law enforcement of integrity, that it protects us, that you take though work the justice department did in ferguson and represent -- replicate that in your own community and begin documenting the cases of lease abuse and contact those lawyers at the legal defense fund or department of justice and push for a change in this country. voting and policing are the two ways we know whether we are full citizens or not. today, both are under threat and it is a threat to this entire company. i ask you to walk with me and all of us in faith and all of your work. thank you and god bless you. [applause]
>> good morning. to pastor strong, and this brown african american episcopal church, the this fourth generation preacher, it humbles me to be in the presence of that denomination that came into being not as a consequence of a theological schism but as a form of protest, unique among american denominations. to our distinguished members of the clergy, the members of the episcopacy, the congressional delegation these cabinet officials who thought it not robbery to be in god's house to honor the sacrifices of those
who yet remain among us and the martyrs of the movement, to ambassador young -- [applause] and so many of these foot soldiers of the civil rights movement whom god has blessed us to have with us yet and of course, to the preacher of the hour, the reverend al sharpton. [applause] in deference to the service in the word, i will not the long. i will simply leave you with one hot and one word. yesterday, being a history-laden day, beneath a beautifully blue sky, a black president walked beside an ebony-hued hair when
of yesteryear and today, miss amelia boynton. he walked by feet, ms. boynton by wheelchair and will of character. they made their way to the top of the bridge anointed by blood sweat, and tears. the president gave a few words ms. boynton lifted up a few words and in so doing, she invokes a praise decades older than even the selma to montgomery march. those words and that phrase being this -- "a vote lists -- a vote less people is a hopeless people." all across the country, state legislatures have engaged in a mock pavilion nature of disenfranchisement, giving effect to the notion that a voteless people is a hopeless
people. they have launched plans and policies to suggest a voteless people is a hopeless people. in north carolina, in texas where we have laws that have been passed that make it clear that if you have an id sufficient to carry a concealed weapon, that is deemed sufficient democratic proof civic proof, to vote. but an id that allows you to carry a book of shakespeare, a book of engineering, a book of chemistry is deemed insufficient under our constitution. [applause] so they have launched plans and policies to suggest we are a voteless people and a hopeless people. yet i'm reminded in the book of jeremiah, roundabout the 29th chapter, you find these words -- "i know the plans i have for
you, plans not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future." my brothers and sisters, today in 2015 listening and learning from our ancestors, from our forbearers and for mothers and forefathers we have a hope. [applause] so this is for us -- not a shakespearean season of despair and which area and people assert now is the winter of our discontent. whether you be in ferguson, staten island, or selma, alabama -- be clear, we are inspired by the path to take action in the present. so the naacp is standing for a journey for justice, from selma alabama to washington dc come across alabama come across georgia come across north carolina cross south carolina,
into virginia, into d.c. -- a series of direct actions. why? we believe if our mothers fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers did what they did with what little they had, why, why, why can't we do more with what we have been given? [applause] and so, we commemorate and we celebrate and we commit. the word being "hope." [applause] >> praise the lord, everybody. i do believe we are still in worship. raise the lord everybody. this is the day the lord has made it we are grateful for the opportunity to be here. to the bishops of the church, to
the reverend clergy, to our officials from all the offices in washington dc and local offices, we greet you with the joy of jesus today and i bring you greetings on behalf board, faculty and staff at alabama state university, the oldest and largest hbcu in the state of alabama. [applause] as has already been mentioned, education is our ticket to freedom. we understand the value of our hbcu's and i want to recognize and a glover. we do walk together because we know it is about our hbcu's, keeping them open and keeping them functioning because they are the schools we had to go to
would we could not go to other schools. those are the places where we were able and allowed to express our academic excellence. today, we at alabama state are proud to acknowledge we produce not only intellectual giants but giants in the civil rights movement. we were founded in 1867 by nine newly freed slaves in marion alabama, who put together $500 -- in 1867, that was a lot of money -- but because they understood the value of an education and that would be their ticket to freedom. they put their pennies, nickels and dimes together and found it alabama state university. from that offering, alabama state university has grown powerful ranches and produced great fruit for over 148 years. we are proud to acknowledge the history of asu and the civil rights movement are inextricably bound together. ralph abernathy is a graduate of
alabama state university. mrs. rosa parks attended alabama state university. fred gray who was rosa parks' lawyer and dr. martin luther king's lawyer was in the class of 1951. dr. martin luther king and corralled us king lived on our campus after their house was on the montgomery. we are proud to be part of this legacy of courage, determination, vacation at -- dedication and faith. we talk a lot about face but it is the faith that has allowed us to move forward when our ancestors walked together, even though they were being beaten, bruised, battered and killed so we could exercise our rights and freedoms today. we don't need to get comfortable . we don't need to get amnesia and think everything is all right. we know that the journey is not complete. for too many in our community, they have developed profit laryngitis, but now is the time to speak up.
we come today to acknowledge we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. i ask you today to continue to support our hbcu's. we need your funding, advocacy and support. we still have many more steps to take on the vision to victory but for those who are of the christian faith, we read this book and we read to the last chapter and we know that we win. we are grateful for the faith that keeps us going every day, but we also note any journey is taken one step at a time. so our victory is a sure -- is assured when we take another step, and we walked together and don't get wary. when we take another step toward freedom and justice knowing that all things are good and those who love the lord and are called to its purpose. we take another step knowing no
weapon against us will be able to stop us. we take another step knowing that the lord is my life and my celebration. whom shall i fear? of whom shall i be afraid we take another step knowing that i -- that eyes of not seen any years of not heard and neither has it entered the heart of man and a great things that are in store for all of us if we just keep the faith. [applause]
>> let the church say amen. to bishop davis, to pastor strong, to all of god's people gathered in this place, i bring you greetings today in the name of the one who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ever imagine or ask. to god be the glory for the wonderful things he has done. i greet you on behalf of the fifth district of the christian methodists of visible church where our -- where i am residing bishop. i greet you on behalf of the 210 churches in alabama including our own church here in selma.
it's a pleasure to greet you on behalf of my own college located in fairfield alabama, just outside of birmingham -- outside of birmingham -- a historically black college formed in 1898 by former slaves. a college whose students just 15 years ago launched the selective buying campaign to initiate the birmingham movement toward civil rights. in an article about her loved hometown selma, just a few weeks ago, u.s. congresswoman terry sewall's said -- "we must move beyond the bridge." her words about moving forward led me to reflect on the concept of bridge and my greetings to you today comes with those reflections. a bridge, connection between two points.
a bridge enables a person to move from point a to point b crossing over whatever normally would be an obstacle or make the commute impossible. a body of water, a chasm or gorge, a highway or railroad. metaphorically, a bridge does the same thing. it connects our past and our future. a bridge is a way forward. to commemorate the historic walk across the edmund pettis bridge 50 years ago, we give honor to those who gave their lives. those who bled, those who were beaten, those whose names we know and those who remain unnamed. we remember those who not only marched, but those who cooked, those who clean, those who plan,
those who mopped, those who nursed, those who sacrifice so much that we could be here and i am personally grateful for all they did. but today, there are many other bridges that need to be crossed. in our nation, in our region and even in our own communities, there are bridges that need to be crossed. british -- ridges from voter suppression to voter empowerment. bridges from health asperity to affordable, accessible health care for all. bridges where systems and structures think that some lives don't count, but we need to cross the bridge that says all lives matter. in doing so, there are some fundamental truths about crossing bridges, both literally and figuratively that i will
share with you today. don't speed across your bridges. you might just miss something important. most of the time when you come to a bridge, there are signs that alert you to things you need to know. today is our time to study where we have been, to also study where we are going. our history is important and we should never forget it, nor should we ignore the reality of our past. speeding by will not make any of the problems go away. so our future lies ahead. a second fundamental truth about bridges is that you should always pass with caution. you should pass with caution because on a bridge of a sometimes it's just as important to be a follower as it is to be a leader.
there is work for all of us to and if you choose to be a leader in this journey, please be ready to accept all the responsibility and sacrifice of leadership. a third truth -- don't park on the bridge. that's not what bridges are for. we cannot get comfortable where we are. there is still much work to be done. we must do what we must do on the bridge but we must keep pressing on. finally, don't burn your bridges. you never know when you might have to cross them again. given the state of affairs never country today, given the news and reports that we read ailey when it comes to issues of equality, justice and diversity, their are some bridges we may need to cross again and again.
there our -- there are bridges and are country and in our community that we must cross over and over again to make sure our voices are heard, to make sure our votes count, and to make sure justice always rolls down like a river and like righteousness down a mighty stream. as we go down our bridges, let's from them bridges that lie before us and march on till victory is won. [applause] >> allow me a point of personal privilege to thank bishop james davis for the accumulation of episcopal leadership and the nomination a leadership that we have today. it is his spirit that says we do it better when we do it together and i want you to know it is not accidental that we are here.
secondarily, i'm a new yorker and we play ball in the streets often times. all of these people watching saying car to let us know a car was coming in to get out the street. there was a sports car coming behind me and i want to hurry and get out of his way unless we get hit. but i am dennis proctor door, the bishop of the ame zion on church. had to put zion in there so you understand we are known as the freedom church. the church of harriet tubman. we have just recently partnered with the national park service in auburn, new york, to the if i the legacy she has left to us. also the church of sojourner truth and frederick douglass, joseph charles rice. but importantly the church of corunna scott king, down in marion, alabama. the lace where martin luther
king the third's grandfather was the preacher steward and the chairman of the trustee board at the same time. he was a powerful somebody. i stand here today -- i talked to my cousin earlier and i was reminded that my aunt margaret my mother's sister served as a domestic for u.s. senator john sparkman. a senator from this state, in alabama. she was his domestic worker for 30 years. when his neighbor, general omar bradley would have a luncheon or a dinner, he would share his domestic with his neighbor. i said to myself, how ironic it is that now i am presiding over the state where the individual who accepted the hell up fairly paid to help now has a son of the help coming to stand in the
midst. there's a lot i want to say today, but it reminded me of one who was named matilda. matilda worked in the master's house. after the dred scott decision, master came in and said matilda black people don't have any rights and white -- that white people are duty bound to honor. matilda said that's not right and she kept on cooking and kept on serving. she said i've got to appeal. he said you don't understand the supreme court said there are no rights black votes have two h white deal are duty bound. she said i've got to peel. he said you cannot appeal to supreme court. she full delivered things and
went out on the backside of the house, got down on her knees and said lord, you know that's not right. what are they doing to us? her appeal made its way to heaven and when she got through appealing to heaven, the truth started marching from new york down from new york into gettysburg, out of gettysburg into richmond, from richmond down to selma. her appeal kept working. it not only worked in the 1800s, but in 1965. when some folk were in jeopardy of not taking it over the bridge her appeal touch the heart of lyndon johnson and he federalized troops so they could make their way to montgomery alabama. i'm here to tell you today that our vote is necessary, our marching is necessary, but these don't get off your knees. remember that when we talk to
the one who can make a difference he will send the army to fight our battles. harder yet maybe the fight sometimes right will yield to might. wickedness may rain and satan's cause may be there but there is a god who rules with a hand of power and a heart of love. and if we are right, and we are right, he will fight for us. [applause] >> i know i'm out of order but if we are going to get to this bridge -- i cut off the other bishop to intervene. to say three things. that this was a spiritual
movement as much as anything else. and my role with martin luther king was always to be deferred. the only time he got mad at me and custom me out was when i agreed with everybody. he said the diversity of opinions and perspective is absolutely necessary. i want to say, we are talking a lot of lack and white. i don't believe in that anymore. i don't believe in that accident. that more than blacks and white our problems are green and global. [applause] if you look at atlanta, we did not talk black and white. we did talk green and we did talk global and in the process
of getting people out of their emotionalism, we focused on the real problems. i say that it is spiritual because i'm looking at my brother here at the greek orthodox church who we might tend to overlook, but without the presence of his predecessor who later became my good friend and mentor and father in the ministry, a rabbi along with the priest and nuns our beatings might not have even been noticed. [applause] but let me get back to the green and the global. because i don't see
black-and-white in ferguson. i see green. it is unemployed and underemployed taking their frustrations out on each other. when our president doesn't talk about black and white but talks green and global, he probably is doing much more to address the problems of the world than he could if he talked in the terms we are talking here tonight. i want to remind you that we have come a long, long way. amanda jackson, shirley franklin, bill campbell -- they very seldom talked about black and white, but our effort last year generated $32 billion worth
of economic and 70 and created 400,000 jobs. that is addressing the last aspect of the moment -- of the movement which we have yet to take on. that is we promised to redeem the soul of america from the triple evil of racism, war and poverty. haven't done a lot on poverty. we've done a lot but it's global impact on the united states of america and our poverty has as much to do with the currency manipulations in china that the president is trying to deal with as it does us being black and white on the same streets. i think we've got to focus on ourselves not as problems, but as visionaries. as people who see things as
robert kennedy said, as they should be. and asks why not. rather than see things as they are and ask why. we have come a long, long way but i have enjoyed every bit of it. i don't remember being mad and said, even when martin luther king was killed. while i was mad, he went to glory and left us behind in hell. [laughter] but i saw him going on to claim a reward he had well deserved. so we have a long way to go. we have a lot to do, but we are trying to do it. we are going to do some crazy things with the ports in savanna, hopefully with your help. i missed yesterday because i was
with the governor of washington state because they are looking at a universal id which india developed to make sure that it's poor got their benefits because with all the money they were lobbying for the poor, less than 50% was getting to the poor. they developed a system where there 10 fingerprints, dual eyes scan, barcode, number, picture signature and all of the government funds flowed directly through the banks and nobody can get them and somebody that has those eyes and those things are prince, they've done that already for 700 million people. and it's just about one dollar per person. but it does so much to alleviate the pain of the poor.
it turned out six of the companies involved in that were in seattle. i had been invited by the mayor of seattle to the mayors prayer request for thanksgiving. i said why don't you do what they did in india, since your companies did it for india? he did not know whether they could do that. yesterday, the governor invited me back for his prayer break and the legislature is doing something to try to help the poor. they had tried to get the money they government a lot some without all the middlemen. that is progress. we are looking at progress here socially but i still remember the farmers, i remember the
people who let us camp on their land. i remember the ones who put up their property for bonds when we went to jail. the children are doing all right . they're going to school at these universities and doing well, but they still own this land. if we don't find them a new crop, they are likely to lose it. i ran into an old coon ass cajun and a black marine who were working on a new crop that old folks could farm and make money without a whole lot of work. we are talking about putting that together with some of the veterans who want to come back here and just do the job. we are trying to find ways to grow this southern economy
because since air conditioning and integration, does no better place to raise a child then these little towns in the deep south like marion, alabama, that produced credit king and money that half -- bonita abernathy and that brought me to this place. in 1952. we've been on this case for a long time. don't you get tired either. [applause] >> let the church say amen. now let the redeemed shout
hallelujah. i want to share with you first of all that it's a good thing just to know jesus. secondly, just knowing him has sure paid off. to my classmate, bishop james davis, to the writer of the litany, bishop adam j richardson my bishop from the state of florida and one of the elected bishops of the african episcopal church. frederick douglas said i have had more prayers answered when i got off my knees. 50 years ago when 600 saints left this sanctuary to face the unknown halfway across the
bridge, hose a williams and john lewis had their meals in prayer. today, i bring you greetings on behalf of the african methodist episcopal church. a church that was born on our needs as we were refused the right to pray at st. george's methodist episcopal church. we know the power of prayer, but we still believe prayer changes things. in texas chapter 14, verse number 15, moses and the children of israel cried out to god in prayer. pharaoh and the chariots were behind them. the red sea stood in front of them. god tells them to words -- go forward. this shows us after the benediction, we must make our
prayer work. this shows us we don't stay on our knees. let's stay on the frontline. as god told the children of israel, go forward. the african episcopal church tells us when this day of celebration is complete, let's not stay down on our knees, but let's go forward. go forward, keep moving, go forward, keep fighting. but we are not here just to celebrate. we are here to remember. we also were member when the children of israel came across the jordan. they told them to get 12 stones from the midst of the jordan and when your children and your children's children ask you what
means these stones, tell them that it was god who brought you out of the land of egypt, out of the house of bondage. tell them that it was not an easy journey, but god delivered us. but today, as my brothers and sisters prepare for tomorrow, i want you to know the edmund pettit bridge really means what means these stones? what we begin to think about the meaning of the stones, we must here the voices from the blood that was shed on the bridge. remember that there were persons who gave their lives and today we want to know who will be the prophetic voice to speak from the voices from those whose blood is still in the ground. i want to know today, are you
ready to speak? or are you just here to party? when the party is over, the work must begin. [applause] >> i am bilingual, trilingual, i speak all those languages green and global. we are going to speak a little green right now. i am also, also some also. in order to communicate with each other, we have to be tiling will trilingual, multilingual. we have two love and respect each other in the process. we're going to receive an offering from those who will be kind enough to share your gifts
with us. i'm going to ask my good friend and brother reverend dr. jesse jackson to come and assist me with this. who is that? we've got to get the preacher up because he's going to the bridge also. we are going to satisfy everyone. at least we are going to try. let us pray. -- >> let us pray. let us give our gives for thy service because we are commanded to. because we ought to, and because it is needed. we express our thanks for this ministry. amen.
almost every speaker says what selma has done for them, we must also do something for selma. this church has a double meaning because some churches in the city may not let us have mass meetings. some may not let us meet in their churches. this church was open to the mass meetings. do not take that for granted. i want to make this quicker than usual. there are some people here today who have not been to church in a long time. they are here -- this church does not have a government grant . it's the goodwill and generosity -- the membership is out there trying to get in the gate.
to maintain this ministry, your sacrifice -- you will sacrifice to give $500, if this church means that much to you. if you are able to give $500 please stand. to sustain this church's work. someone behind me? don't take lightly the appeal. if you are able to sustain the ministry -- if you can sacrifice $500 please stand. i'm going all the way down the application.
brown's chapel, $500. stand quickly. it does not have basketball properties. they bounce, you know. will not take long. don't talk, please. this is quiet money. you will give at least $100. stand quickly. you will give $100 to brown's chapel church. if you will give $100, please stand. i'm so glad to see you. you are that the senate sent me
to jail. you are the chief law office of america. i'm going to have good credit because you are there today. i want you to clean my record up. that's your first act. lorenzo -- preaching machine. friend, please don't talk. i need to see you stand if you are going to give $100. stand, stand. if you will give $100, please stand quickly. move quickly. don't move too quickly. i believe in shouting, but don't shout -- other folks are outside .
$50, raise your hand. you will give something -- you give something, you will give something? please move quickly. if you will give something please stand. you give something, you give something. brother brooks? attorney reverend brooks. you've got some preacher in you. hazel? if you will give, raise your
deltas, raise your hand. zetas? >> good afternoon. reverend strong -- will be members of all for cap alpha sorority please stand. on behalf of our members, we would like to present you with $1908. that represents the year of our founding and represents the year of the founding of this church. thank you so very much. [applause] >> equal time or forever hold your peace.
we receive these gifts in my name to do thine work. amen. >> praise the lord. if i could have reverend strong and mrs. juanita maxwell join me here at the pulpit. i'm betty marshall, vice president of operation for sam's club and i stand here representing several avenues of my life. i stand here as a third-generation member of the african methodist episcopal church and i bring you greetings from mount zion church in georgia. i stand here in honor of my ancestors.
my grandparents, mother and my father are all from selma alabama. [applause] i stand here in honor of my aunt whose name is etched on the freedom fighters wall. i stand here in honor of my cousins, joyce a o'neill and phyllis altman. [applause] i am blessed i work for a company that encourages me to identify ways to make a difference. and so, it is my honor to present to you a $10,000 check. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> i want ambassador young to know that she is speaking green now.
i am to, just in bringing him forward, distribute copies of his bio -- i can't think of anybody who is not aware, who has been living on another planet, and is not aware of the things reverend al sharpton has been engaged in. he has been praised by both a democratic president, barack obama camera and a republican president, president george bush. people from diverse backgrounds have found something praise-worthy about his many achievements and many accomplishments. in bringing him forth as quickly as possible, i want to read a
bit from an excerpt called "the man in the arena." nelson mandela gave a copy of it to france swore -- francois pinoit in the world championship rugby games at the moment it could have gone either way and at a moment in his country when nobody but nelson mandela could have brought the divergent elements together into the republic of south africa. here is what was on the piece of paper that nelson mandela gave to francois. it was written by theodore roosevelt, and it's called "the man in the arena." is not the critic who counts
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. the credit belongs to the man or the woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasms the great devotions, who spends himself or herself in a worthy cause, who at best in the end nose in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the
worst, if he fails or if she fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place or her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. i just want to -- in case there is a temptation to rise to the critics chair and assumed the critics seat -- i want to present the man in the arena. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you to pastor strong and to the bishops and to all of our officials from washington and to all of our activists, civil rights leaders, the chair lady of the naacp. please stand, our chair lady. [applause] mostly, to our foot soldiers from 1965 -- [applause] come on. give them a big hand. [applause]
i want to turn to the book of joshua. first chapter, beginning at the fifth verse -- there shall not any man be able to stand before thee. all the days of my life, as i was with moses, so i will be with thee, and i will not fail thee nor forsake thee. may god add a blessing to the reading of his words.
50 years after the march, god's promise, god's promise. several years ago, the speaker here on a sunday morning was then-senator barack obama. the senator who is now president talked about that there was the moses generation, the foot soldiers, the many that we heard from this morning, and then he said that those of us behind worthy joshua generation -- were the joshua generation. yesterday, as some of us were
marching across the bridge, i reminded him now. i reminded him of the joshua generation. the problem with the joshua generation is that it does not go by age. it goes by commitment. there were many people that were in the moses generation that were not in the movement. just because your old doesn't mean we only you -- owe you no gratitude. there are many in the joshua generation who are not engaged now. the real way you separate them is by those that are committed to the journey, and committed
why? because there is a distortion of why we have taken this journey. i've been wrestling with it, bishop, and it came together for me on that bridge yesterday. i happened to be standing between her and the president as we got across to the halfway point. john lewis stopped and said he wanted to speak. he started explaining what had happened at that point where jose williams and he were beat. miss boykins said, let me speak. from her wheelchair, she talked about how she had been registering voters, and she talked about how she was beat that day. she said, i was registering them because i felt if we could vote,
we could deal with poverty and deal with the killing of our people and deal with what was going on wrong and unfair. it sounds real simple, but what struck me was that we are, in many ways, caught up in what we are getting out of the journey than what the journey was for. go right back to joshua was story. -- joshua's story. when the children of israel were coming out of egypt and god opened up the red sea, and they marched across into the wilderness, they forgot the reason for the journey and started worshiping the wrong
god. the reality is, in this celebration, some of us have been lost in the wilderness. some of us thought that john lewis and hosea williams got beat for you to get a certain position and a certain job. some of you thought this was about you, rather than realize that yes it was about voting but not voting to get you a big title -- voting that hoping we put you somewhere, you would transform society to make it better. andrew young was right. it's not about making what was wrong -- we weren't looking for
darker-colored oppressors. we were looking for freedom. what difference does it make if you've got white churches ceremonial being replaced by black churches ceremonial where we meet out of custom rather than conviction and where some have reduced the pulpit to a lotto machine where you show up every week to see if god gave you your lexus yet? that's not why we wanted to come out of egypt. i was born raised in brooklyn, new york. i never sat in the back of a bus. i was only 10 years old at the
march. i wasn't here in 1965. in fact, the town i grew up in was much more vibrant. my pastor brought me to reverend jones, operation breadbasket and said, if you are going to be involved in this social stuff, let it be with the preacher. they wanted me to stay in the church. i joined operation breadbasket. i kind of liked the style. reverend jesse jackson.
i came into the movement through that wing. i didn't understand that it took more courage to be nonviolent t han to ball up your fists and talk. i didn't understand that you can't transform a nation without transforming yourself. what was original movement in the south broadened. we are urbanized it. we understood it was not the style but the reason that brought this movement to where now the whole world imitates what is done here. there is a reason in selma today. we are not here to celebrate. we are here to commemorate and then continue. this is not just a commemoration. it is a continuation. right here in alabama, the
20th-century alabama was known for its segregation and race. the 21st century is known for its immigration rights and homophobia. a lot of y'all don't want to deal with that but you can't fight for anybody's rights unless you fight for everybody's rights. [applause] something sick by the neck of the fish seeing 36% poverty in town, but you are more concerned with what is going on in somebody's bedroom than the food in the kitchen. [applause] something wrong about telling churches they can't take care of children until they check out
their parents' immigration status and then get up and preach, love your neighbor. something hypocritical about standing up in front of a bridge celebrating people that were be, and then go straight to montgomery and legislate voter id laws and legislate ending early voting and legislate stopping sunday polls. something hypocritical about honoring dr. king and then running shelby through the supreme court and taking out the core of the voting rights act. yes, you can have the act, but no preclearance.
we can do whatever we want to do, and we don't have to check with the justice department before we do it. by the way we are going to hold the attorney general in contempt , because it is contemptible to us he was attorney general in the first place. [applause] you tell us to lecture our children about doing wrong -- and we do and we should. you tell us about family responsibility -- and we should and we do. then you take someone who went to law school and did everything right, stayed with his family raise his children, went to the best school, becomes president,
and you ask him about his attorney general and hold him in contempt? what are we supposed to tell our children? [applause] [applause] i understand that you don't like those that yell. i know you all have problems with me. if you don't like me, i'm not crazy about yell -- y'all. everything you claim you believe in -- [indiscernible] loretta lynch. nobody on no side of the aisle can find nothing wrong with her but they just gave up and started asking her about eric holder because they couldn't
find nothing wrong with her. and you still take the longest time in recent american history to confirm her vote, and you don't think we notice that? we know the difference. we know why they cross that bridge, and there are still some bridges we have to cross. we know the reason for the fight. it's not about getting black faces in high places. the reason was so that we could change and make fair and just not only for us, but for everybody.
yesterday was not an anniversary of a new marriage in america. it was the celebration of a newborn baby. barack obama is a child as a result of the voting rights act but the two forces married in the voting rights act is in court filing for divorce with the shelby act. we are no longer in unison. you are fighting in the state of alabama against preclearance right now. we aren't going to the bridge with nostalgia. we are going to the bridge again to let you know, like we did 50 years ago, you will not deny our right to vote.
you are going to file shelby, get a supreme court vote nullify us with section iv, and then come ask the son to celebrate his daddy and not expect him to stand up for what his daddy lived for. you think we don't understand that much of what happened in this town you are trying to rescind in a new way. the language of jim crow has changed into the court papers of james crowe junior esquire, but the results are the same. that disenfranchisement -- some young people, just like when i
was young, they don't even try. we aren't even going to try the system. that is what sherilyn was talking about. wait a minute. y'all can't get on juries if you don't register to vote. when we breakdown what this system is, we've got the need here today not talking about what we did but what we must do now. we are committed. we are going to washington again, and we are going to force this congress to deal with the voting rights act. i sat in the courtroom when scalia started talking about racial entitlement.
it's not a racial entitlement to have your vote protected. it's an american entitlement. [applause] we intend to deal with action and washington d.c. that's why the journey started. there were some that asked moses , why didn't you leave us in egypt? the journey is too rough. because he does something that makes progress privately, he has to worry about being condemned by his own, while he's being attacked by the enemy. if he stands to straight, they
use that against him. if he stays with us, we act like there's something wrong. we've killed our living leaders and installed our debt leaders. as soon as they die, we name buildings after them and monuments after them, but as long as they are here, we beat them down and hand them to the enemy. [applause] it's hard. you only do this if you believe in what you're doing. that's why only spiritual people end up leading this movement. you've got to deal with people that are on another frequency than you.
the reason i can fight the way i fight is they are on a.m. --on am -- they are on am. i am on fm. you've got to get where a bishop -- jesus had gotten to such a high frequency that the last thing he did, he served everybody. he knew he was getting ready to be betrayed. the last thing he did, he got up from the table, took off his garments, laid it down, and got down on his knees. they said, what are you doing? i'm going to wash your feet. why are you going to wash our feet? he said, the greatest is the servant. maybe if you understand, it's not about how high you set but about how low you can go to serve the people. [applause]
i'm going to tell you something deeper than that. it took me many years. not only did he get down and wash his disciples' feet. he knew that one of them was going to betray him. he knew that that night he was going to be sold out by one of his own disciples, but he didn't call him out. he didn't dismiss him. he washed the feet of judas even though he knew that judas was going to betray him. he said, what you are going to do, do it quickly. you ain't got enough religion so -- until you can look your traitor in the face and serve him anyhow. [applause]
spiritual people. dogs in birmingham. we shall overcome. spiritual people make you go to the bridge named after a klansman and take teargas and look in the future and say, i don't know when and i don't know how, but god will pave the way somehow. spiritual people don't calculate their steps, but they know their steps are ordered by the lord. spiritual people, that's what brought us this far. i tell my daughters that i heard one of the lord -- one or two of our speakers talk.
there are some things you aren't going to be able to move. some things, your laptop can't give you an answer. that is where something else kicks in. faith ain't what you can figure out. faith ain't what you can talk you later. faith is what doesn't make sense. faith is when you shouldn't do it but something in you makes you go ahead and do it anyhow. faith is the substance of things , hope for the evidence of things not seen. faith is when the doctors give up, but you are holding onto one another. faith is when you got a pile of
bills and no money, but you say, he will provide all of my needs. faith is when your friends walk out, when your loved ones forget about what you did, but you believe, he brought me this far. we've come this far by faith leaning on the lord, trusting in his holy word. he never, he never come he never failed me yet. [applause] let me say this. we are going on. i remember january 2013. i was sitting with martin the third and his