tv Abraham Lincolns Second Inaugural Address 150th Anniversary CSPAN March 31, 2015 8:00pm-9:20pm EDT
extraordinary service and sacrifice was to be presented to chief kyle's we co taya. she intended to be with us this morning, but as you know, the grueling trial of her husband's killer was just completed. now the weather and the trial coming to close together transpired to prevent her from being here to get that award in person. i'll hold that plaque in safekeeping and ask that you please keep her and their children in your prayers as they will be in mine. god bless you and thank you for being part of this today. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ i will always do my duty no matter what the price ♪ ♪ i've counted up the cost i know the sacrifice ♪
♪ oh and i don't want to die for you ♪ with congress out this week for spring recess, we're featuring american history tv and prime time. this month marked the 150th anniversary commemoration of president lincoln's second inaugural address. thousands gathered to hear the speech on march 4, 1865 several weeks before the end of the civil war and lincoln's assassination n. partner thip with national park service, the group this d.c. hosted air reenact nlt of the speech this month. it featured chuck todd of meet the press. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning. i am the regional director good morning. my name is bob voguele. i'm the regional director of the national capitol region of the national park service.
it's my great pleasure to welcome you this chilly march morning to the lincoln memorial as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of abraham lincoln's second inauguration as president of the united states. abraham lincoln's first inauguration was held be beneath the gathering clouds of war as the tents stand off at fort sumter and charleston harbor continued, both the north and south anxiously looked to the inauguration and the inaugural -- inauguration for signs of what was to come. lincoln's inaugural address was filled with ominous warnings against succession and promises to meet the use of arms by the southern states with force on part of the united states. but four years later, on march
4, 1865, despite four terrible years of civil war president lincoln viewed his second inauguration as a cause for optimism with high hope for the future. he opened in the opening of his second inaugural address before outlining how he planned to treat the once and future fellow country men in the war's aftermath with malice toward none, with charity for all. we are very excited today about the line up of political scientists, living historians and musicians who have joined us this morning to help us reflect upon and draw relevance say on the 150th anniversary of the water shed event in american history. these lessons are made that much more poig nant today as our nation also observes the 50th
anniversary of selma's bloody sunday, a landmark event in the civil rights movement. my heart felt thanks for all our participants and partners who made today's program possible and in particular i'd like to extend my thanks to the lincoln group of the district of colombia our cosponsor of today's program that shared our vision for properly marking this very important anniversary. now it's my pleasure to introduce karen needles, president of the lincoln group of the district of colombia. [ applause ] >> good morning everybody. it's 50 degrees here tomorrow. talk to the lord a lot this week, and he managed to give us a beautiful day. lincoln was walking from the white house to the telegraph office one day when a gentleman
walked up to him pulled out a pistol and pointed it at him and said he was going to shoot him. lincoln very quietly asked him what he had done to offend him. the gentleman said i always swore if i saw a man who was uglier than i was, i'd shoot him. lincoln scratched his whiskers for a minute and said sir, if i truly am uglier than you shoot me. the man was so flab gasted he put the pistol in his pocket and walked away. on another occasion lincoln was accused of being two-faced. lincoln looked at him and said if i were two faced would i be wearing this face? this is what we love about lincoln, his humor, his ability to tell a story and make a point. we love lincoln for his humor, especially those stories that quietly had a point to be made. we love lincoln the father who's
love for his son tad and sorrow for son willy touches our hearts. we admire lincoln the president who, when he took his oath of office a, was determined to protect and defend the united states of america and to finally eliminate the peculiar institution of slavery with the 13th amendment. i encourage the younger generation, those of you standing out here, and the global community to look at lincoln, to understand the determination and immoral compass right and might. keeps you determined to do what you want to do. i'm going to leave you with a quote lincoln said. always bear in mind your own says lugs to succeed is more important than any other one thing. thank you for coming.
[ applause ] >> thank you karen. we're proud to begin the program with presentation of colors. colors are carried by the united states army color guard from the military district of washington. please rise for the presentation of the colors, the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance allegiance. march on the colors.
allegiance? >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america. and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. ladies and gentlemen kindly remain standing for the retiring of colors and invocation. throughout his presidency,
abraham lincoln worship in the new york avenue presbyterian church in washington. he discussed the sovereignty with gurley the man revered by the lincoln family. these discussions may well have influenced lincoln's thoughts on the war and future of our nation which he presented in his second inaugural address 150 years ago. as we stand here on the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday, it's also important to note this historic church sent ministers to selma to support dr. king's fight for civil rights. i now have the pleasure to introduce you to rechb roger ginch of new york avenue presbyterian church to deliver the invocation. >> let us pray. oh god you raised up a profit for us in abraham lincoln who's
spirit of humility and courage are a model for us today. out of his life cut short, amid a war that ruptured family and country, the spirit of the man rose in the life of his people to heal the nation of what was a great offense of slavery. in the spirit of lincoln we come bold his before you today giving thanks for his witness and pray it may continue to inspire us for the month men us to struggle for freedom and equality that continues to this day. for out of the caldron of the civil war and lincoln's role in it, a robust vision of freedom was given, yet another set of wings that carried another great profit to the very steps of this national temple. one who took us to a mountain top to see the other side,
sharing with us the dream of a day when this nation would rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. we hold these truths to be self-evident that all people are created equal. help us, oh god to discern and pursue justice with courage and endurance knowing it can never be circumstance sized by race sender sexual or ten yags ethnicity or nationality or by the human race. earth itself is crying out for justice. help us to know as abraham lincoln surely seemed to know that justice we seek is not about winners and losers but always southght with a horizon set towards charity and reconciliation.
help us to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with you in your holy name we pray, amen. >> please be seated. thank you reverend grinch. for the last four years t national parks service has commemorated the 150th anniversary of the civil war offering programs and events at parks around the country that give the current generation of americans the opportunity to understand, discuss, and commemorate this country's greatest national crisis while exploring its enduring relevance here in the 21st century. secretary of the interior sally jewel has a supporter of the national parks service and those sites under our care associated with the war and resulting struggle for civil rights. as our nation's 51st secretary of the interior, she serves as
steward for approximately 20% of our nation's lands including national parks national wild life refugees and other public lands. we are proud to say she's a regular visitor here to the national mall and all our national parks in the washington area. it gives me great pleasure to introduce secretary of the interior sally jewel. [ applause ] >> well thank you bob and thank you all for coming out on such a beautiful day. on behalf of president obama i'd like to welcome you to our lincoln memorial and national mall. we refer to this as america's front yard. i think it looks great covered in a blanket of snow. what do you guys think? i'm told lincoln gave his second inaugural address after a period of very wet weather. thousands of speck at a at atators
had to stand in deep mud at the time. i think it's great we get to stand on frozen ground. it's easier than it used to be back then. i'll be brief. i know you'll hear from wonderful speakers on the agenda that provide insight into substance and context of what was lincoln's most stirring reflections on the war. at the end of his address lincoln pondered whether the indication of civil war was god's punment on the nation for savely. lincoln had a sense that the great price of the war, one out of every ten young adult men in the country died, was being paid because america had failed. in therd wos of dr. king spoken on these very steps, to live up to the meaning of its creed. in deed the struggle of african-american slaves to obtain justice is one of the great challenges of our history. i have the honor of overseeing
hundreds of national parks that in many ways serve as america's story teller. one of the most critical stories we can tell is the journey from civil war to civil rights. add independent hall in philadelphia, you can tour where the future generation was left to solve. in missouri by the gate way arch and what we know as dread scott courthouse, you can stand on the steps where slaves were sold like cattle, families were torn apart as husbands wives and children were separated sometimes never to see each other again. a few miles from here n the maryland country side at harriet tubman railroad, you can learn about so many that escaped their bond aj. we return to alabama where 50 years ago more blood spilled in
the fight against injustice where my boss president obama is this very day. these are difficult chapters in our nation's story. they must be told and told for generations to come. we can't forget our past or risk losing sight of where we've come from. i'm proud to work for a president that gets this. he's making sure we're telling a more inclusive story of our nation through sights under the stewardship of the national parks service. some share the struggle of americans. in virginia, a sanctuary was provided for escaped slaves of the war. the national monument tells the role of leaders in the war. others define us as a nation. the chavez monument in california honors one of the great leaders in the 20th century and his work on behalf of migrant workers.
the monument recounts injustices suffered by japanese americans during world war ii. last may in new york we announced a national park service effort to identify places associated with the lbgt rights movement for inclusion in our rights system. we commemorate our past and learn from it to remember not only what is noble and good but also what is unjust and shameful what we might otherwise choose to ignore or forget. today i stand before you, an imgrant woman serving in the cabinet of an african-american president and say i'm proud to tell these stories through the service and proud to march with you as we continue the path toward a more perfect union. in the spirit of abraham lincoln, malice toward none and charity for all, i ask that we press together on this journey.
thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you madame secretary. thank you so much for being with us today. arguably the most well known facet of abraham lincoln's second inauguration was his inaugural address. the second shortest inaugural address in american history though likely the most memorable in language and content. joining us this morning to shed light on the address is dr. lucas moral, class of 1960 professor of ethics and politics and head of the politics department at washington and lee university in virginia. pleased join me in welcoming dr. moral to the podium. [ cheers and applause ] >> as lincoln prepared his second inaugural address he faced the problem of a defeated and defiant south. though beaten on the battlefield, many white southerners were unwilling to
accept a union victory as a just conclusion of the war. as johnny may have put it lincoln might didn't make it right. the newly re-elected president would have to find words to justify what federal troops had accomplished. the problem was preserving the union came not only at great expense in lives and wealth but also through the abolition of slavery. the war was long but slavery had been around much longer. the white supremacy it built itself upon, black slavery would not give way easily. despite the imminent viktd ri of union or succession lincoln surprised the audience, radicals of his party that sought to rule over the south with vengeance. in resistance spurred by jefferson davis who called southerners to stand to their
arms lincoln counselled malice toward none, charity for all. these are words from his second inaugural address that are in the last and second paragraph of his speech. it's the only time the president focuses on the future of his country, more important than the detailed agenda for the future a careful review of the past. what was the meaning of the conflict? cause, consequences, and how could the common acceptance of this view of the war help heal the wounds of a divided nation. this would be the justice of the war's end which included the abolition of slavery. lincoln saw little hope for a truly united states without a united way of thinking about the role of slavery in america's history. he not only rejected the south's defense of slavery as a positive
good but also the north's assumption that they bore no responsibility for peculiar and powerful interest that lincoln put it was somehow the cause of the war. instead he used the address to propose a national memory of the war and american slavery. remarkably for a political speech lincoln highlighted the shared religious practice of the nation. he said both read the same bible, pray to the same god, however the nation's common religion did not produce a common view of slavery. debate over its future in the american republic is reprecisely what led to civil war. lincoln tried to produce a common understanding of the war by not blaming the south a alone for evil of slavery. he proposes american slavery was
an offense that came by the will of northern and southern citizens and one that god now wills to remove through this mighty scourge of war. lincoln doesn't say that he knows for certain the long and bloody conflict was devine punishmentpun punishment punishment. he invited north and south to accept this interpretation of conflict as the best explanation for a war no one really wanted and an emancipation no one, not even lincoln, seriously expected. with the war drawing to a close the united states would be a completely free united states. lincoln hoped the nation would now be in practice what it long declared in principle a nation devoted to the equal rights of
all her citizens. as he said at gettiesburg, the nation under god was to have new birth of freedom. no longer would men be allowed to use their freedom to deny freedom of others. white southerners would have to change their minds about slavery and meaning of america. so we had an american president who acknowledged in his own second inaugural address many thousand gone, black slaves who's toil led to america's prosperity. lincoln did so to suggest a divine mercy that he knows is none too apparent in the midst of the war's devastation. four years of blood and treasure lost in the civil war as bad as that appears, would fall short of a full wreckening.
if this was god's punishment for entirety the of slavery existence on american soil lincoln made this divine chastisement look lenient compared with enormity of slave's existence on american soil for a quarter millennium. if the war were to seize, americans would get off easy. as lincoln put it, believers accepted god's judgment and mercy for sin of slavery they should be willing all too willing to extend charity to each other at war's end. unfortunately, what the nation most needed it lacked. what began with charity soon gave way to malice as
reconstruction faltered in the war's aftermath. after the second inauguration, lincoln said of the address it would wear as well as perhaps better than anything i have produced. i believe it is not immediately popular. he explained men are not flattered by being shown there's been a difference of purpose between the almighty and them. to deny it however in this case is to deny there's a god governing the world. this difference of purpose between god and man and its connection to the death of slavery and the survival of american self-government stands as the centerpiece of the second inaugural address making it the most profound political statement in american history. thank you. [ applause ] thank you very much. abraham lincoln's second inauguration took place saturday
march 4, 1865 under clearing skies following two days of heavy rain. the occasion began inside the cap capitol with the traditional ceremonies in the senate where senators were sworn in. outgoing vice president hamlin gave his farewell address and incoming vice president andrew johnson offered remarks and took the oath of office. the official party then adjourned to the huge platform erected on the east front of the capitol where they were greeted by a crowd numbering between 30 and 40000 individuals. unlike modern inaugurations n the 19th century, the president delivered the inaugural address prior to to the administration of oath of office by the chief justice of the united states.
years, during which public declarations have constantly been called fourth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation. little that is new could be presented. the progress of our arms, upon all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself. it is, i trust reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. with high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to adventure. on the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all
thoughts were anxiously directed forward an impending civil war. all dreaded it. all sought to avert it. while the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted all together to saving the union without war, agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war. seeking to dissolve the union and effects by negotiation. both parties deppwar. one would make war by letting one nation survive. the other would accept war rather than let it parish.
and the war came. one eighth of the whole population were colored slaves not distributed generally over the union but localized in the southern part of it. these slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. all knew this interest was somehow the cause of the war. to strengthen, perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insur ininsurgentsinsurgents would run the union even by war while the government claimed no right to do war than instrict the territorial enlargement of it. neither party expected for the
war the magnitude or the duration which it is already attained. neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. each looked for an easier triumph and result less fundamental and astounding. both read the same bible and prayed to the same god. each invokes his aid against the other. it may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just god's assistance in ringing their bread from the sweat of other
men's faces but let us judge not that we be not judged. the prayers of both could not be answered. that of neither has been answered fully. the almighty has his own purposes. woe unto the war because of offenses, for it must needs be that offenses come but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh. if we shall suppose american slavery is one of those offenses, which in the providence of god must needs come, but which have in continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove.
and that he gives to both north and south this terrible war as the woe do to those by whom the offense came. shall we discern there in departure from attributes. the lives god always subscribed to him. fondly do we hope, fur vently do we pray that this scourge of war shall speedily pass away. yet if god wills that it continue, million all wealth piled by the bondsmens 250 years of unrequited toil shall be
sunk. until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword. as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said that judgments of the lord are true and righteous all together. with malice forward none, with charity for all with firmness in the right as god gives us to see the right. let us strive on to finish the work we are in. to bind up the nation's wounds. to care for him who shall have
born the battle and for his widow and his orphan. to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. [ applause ] >> mr. president are you ready to take the oath of office? >> i am so prepared chief justice. >> would you please raise your right hand and play your hand upon the bible? i, repeat after me do solemnly
swear. >> i abraham lincoln do solemnly swear. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> that i will faithly execute the office of president of the united states. >> and that i will to the best of my ability. >> and i will to the best of my ability. >> preserve protect and defend. >> preserve, protect and defend. >> the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the united states. so help me god. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you.
>> our keynote speaker is no stranger to presidential politics elections, or inaugurations as the moderator of nbc's "meet the press" and nbc news political derek tore as well as the network former white house chief correspondent chuck todd is one of america's foremost political commentators. we're deeply honored to have him with us to join us today especially in light of these freezing temperatures. i suppose, as a die hard green bay packers fan, enduring outdoor events and frigid conditions must be in his dna. ladies and gentlemen please welcome chuck todd. >> you know, they didn't tell me i was following lincoln. like, how do you do that?
i think i speak for everybody here, can we declare all our streets to the national park service? it's amazing how well everything is cleaned up today. my charge here was to talk about the political climate of lincoln, at the time of lincoln's second inaugural. how polarized we think american politics is today, let's get something straight. civil war is very definition of what polarization really is and really was in american society. what was amazing about lincoln's second inaugural it was an attempt to be a key end note obviously to the civil war. let's not forget president lincoln didn't exactly win a landslide re-election. 55% of the vote, among states on the union side. when you really think back on
it, that's actually truly remarkable and reminder that the north was somewhat divided on president lincoln's leadership during the civil war. the scary thing to think about modern politics imagine if he had the tools of those in this day that surround themselves with. would he shown the tools necessary? would he have given the speech he gave the second inaugural? luckily we don't have to know that. we have to know now this was the single most important speech any politician has given. whether he knew that at the time, i think we would all like to think he did. i don't know. let me stet the stage. president lincoln 55% of the vote, not exactly a landslide. he spent the lame duck portion between the election and taking the oath trying to pass the 13th amendment. that's of course been made famous in the movie "lincoln" now. it was in many ways what people call the good days of politics
when you could buy votes. trust me. when i'm doing lincoln -- when asked to do this, i first e-mailed doris goodman. this is what doris wrote to me. she said when we look at culture today, which is most she's known in her time it's not like the 50s. one congressman hit a senator over the head with a cane. we haven't come to that yet. obviously in today's politic, purchasing a vote in ways lincoln had to do blatantly back then is something you can't get away with anymore. remember the 13th amendment passed the senate by the two thirds vote it needed. it didn't have the votes at the time in the house. what did lincoln know that was so important? he knew this had to be a bipartisan deal. he knew it was important that one party didn't try to just jam through the 13th amendment which
by the way he could have easily done if he had waited after the second inaugural when republican gains from the november election would have insured the amendment's passage and success. in doris's book "team of rivals." how much better would it be if this congress could complete the john? if democrats as well as republicans could be brought to show the passage? lincoln sent the message to the country, message of unity. he put leadership over politics. that is what when we look back at lincoln, he was political made deals. the motivation was to get it done so that when the time was right, it would seem as if it was above politics bipartisan and unity. it was more important to him than anything else. it's been mentioned before, but fitting we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of this address while 800 miles away, many political leaders are
commemorating the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday the historic sunday march. the reason we do commemorations is remember moments of unity when it looked completely bleak. there were people that had faith the greater good would win out. that's the beauty of lincoln's second inaugural. it is short 700 words and to the point. it does immense words. it daunt tempt to attack the south for being wrong or gloat on behalf of the north for being right. it seeks to perhaps the most clever part of the speech, how much it relies on religion and acknowledges both sides are praying to the same god and reading the same bible. this is enough to agree, but is it enough to kill each other over? this is one i wish congress would read today. both read the same bible and pray to the same god. it may seem strange any man ask
just god's assistance ringing bread from another man's sweat. would we feel as polarized? would we feel as lost if our side loses the battle of legislation someone claims is going to undermine the fabric of america? i think we know what was undermining the fabric of america in the 19th century. the truth is this actually did do this. nothing compares to this today. it's something our current leaders need to internalize more. what's amazing about this speech, it was clearly not vetted by consultants. it wasn't micro targeted to a specific constituently group. it was simply to heal america 's wounds. nothing expresses that better than the last sentence of the spooech. with malice forward none, charity toward all. let us strive on to finish the
work we're in bind up nation's wounds, care for those in battle, and his widow and orphan who must all have a peace among ourselves. if only everybody across the way would read that over and over again. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you very much chuck. although abraham lincoln was not a musical man himself music certainly appealed to him. he always enjoyed a attending shows and concerts. music was an integral part of his life on the frontier and in the white house. during his 1860 presidential campaign, lincoln adopted lincoln and liberty as his official campaign song a song that spoke of abolitionism and log cabin values.
perhaps a little more surprising a favorite song of the president's was "dixie" in the afterglow of the confederate's surrender, lincoln said to a group of well wishers that i have always thought dixie one of the members of the senate tunes i've ever heard. our adversaries over the ware attempted to over appropriate it. i presented the question to the attorney general, and he gave it as his legal opinion that it is our lawful prize. here to play lincoln and liberty and dixie is bobby whorton, a multiinstrumentist, musician historian, and great friend of our national parks. bobby has successfully combined his love for music and civil war history and is now one of the leading authorities on music
from the civil war period. i'm pleased to introduce to you bobby whorton. >> hello everyone. this is lincoln and liberty. this was the irish tune called rozen the bow. hutcheson from the singing family had serenaded the president quite a few times and wrote these words to a melody everyone knew and loved during that time. this is "lincoln and liberty." ♪ ♪ the choice of the nation, our chief so brave and so true ♪ ♪ will go for the great reformation for lincoln and liberty too ♪ ♪ we'll go for the son of kentucky the hero of hoosier
and through ♪ ♪ the pride of the suckers so lucky for lincoln and liberty too ♪ ♪ they'll find what by fellen and >> at liberty, too ♪ ♪ wake up with our banners so glorious ♪ ♪ the star spangled red white and blue. we'll fight to our banner's victorious ♪ ♪ for lincoln and liberty foo ♪ ♪ the slave across giant he slew ♪ ♪ then shop for the freedom preferring for lincoln and liberty
liberty, too ♪ ♪ we'll go for the son of kentucky ♪ ♪ the hero of hoosierdom through ♪ ♪ the pride of the sucker for lincoln and liberty, too ♪ ♪ [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you so much. i'd like to ask you to sing this one with me in if spirit of president lincoln. you know the song "dixie ♪ most people assumed would be written from a southerner. daniel emmett was from ohio. people would assume that he wrote, "dixie" after the southern reform. he actually wrote it in 1859 which was a year before south carolina secede. you would have thought he premiered dixie in southern town.
new york city. but, anyway, i've told the story so beautifully. now, let's all sing "kdixie" in honor of president lincoln. ♪ i wish i was in the land of cotton ♪ ♪ old times, they are not forgotten ♪ ♪ look away, look away, look away, dixieland ♪ ♪ in dixieland where i was born, early on a frosty mornen' ♪ ♪ look away ♪ ♪ look away ♪ ♪ look away, dixieland ♪ ♪ then i wish i was in dixie ♪ ♪ away ♪ ♪ away ♪
♪ in dixieland i'll take my stand ♪ ♪ to live and die in dixie ♪ ♪ away, away down south in dixie. ♪ away, away away down south in dixie ♪ [ applause ] >> thank you very much. >> thank you, bobbue. our final speaker is the current chair of the history department and a history professor at howard university specializing in 19th century african american history. she is here this morning to discuss how abraham lincoln's second inauguration marked a
transition for the nation. being engaged in a civil war to a struggle for civil rights for all citizens. please, help me in welcoming dr. edna green medford. >> good morning. i was present at the ig inauguration of mr. lincoln. i know not how many times i've heard. they struck me at the time and have seemed to me ever since to contain more vital substance that i have ever seen compressed in his face so narrow frederick douglas, 1865. for nearly two year ss as
president struggled to keep the border states within the union, douglas had been a relentless critic. only after the president promise ed concessions especially equal treatment for black soldiers. as lincoln ewe in his recognition of the role black men were playing to win the youth award for the union the great abolitionist became more confident. in this regard and in many others lincoln's second inaugural address did not disappoint. the president had asked him what he thought of his speech.
douglas assured him it was a sacred effort. in lincoln's second term african americans would secure the freedom of equality that they had envisioned and in which they fought. in the president's address, he had conceded for reconciliation. he cared for those who had borne the battle. douglas understood that african americans would need all the nation's good wishes and assistance if they were to meet the challenges of post emancipation. during the war, he and other leaders in the african american kmuchb community had pressed vigorously for civil and political rights, for pre-war, pre-blacks and the newly e lily emancipated.
opt optimism had soared in the black community. but just three days later the new architect of the would-be america would be felled by the bull et of a cow ardly assassin. as the country mourned the president's death, african americans shared in the national grief. but they also grieved the loss of opportunity that a lincoln's second term promise edd. there was little if any indication that andrew johnson was either capable or inclined to secure the rights of people of color. unfortunately, he met the expectations that african americans had of his administration.
the saving grace was ineffective management the period of progress was only a brief interlude through equal rights through the next century. from the post emancipation era and for most of the 20th century, african american men and women alongside bad supporters fought against disenfranchisement and sured violence at the hands of hose who would keep them subordinate at static. not only was there a denial of justice and opportunity to the black man who had borne the
battle, but there was precious widow for his. the black exclusion had spawned a movement that would not be stayed. the landmark decision brown versus the board of education of topeka kansas overturned the plessie versus ferguson decision. a decade later, the civil rights act restored the rights that black men and women had been denied in the previous century. this restoration did not come without great sacrifice. 50 years ago today, the struggle to create the just and fair america that lincoln had envisioned could be seen in selma alabama's bloody sunday.
the violent response of law enforcement officials, to peaceful demonstrations for black voting rights reminds us of the hatred that lincoln felt. selma, as difficult as it was to those who suffered through it, also reminds us of a tenacity of the people of unassistance and inequality and great personal risk. sadly, we have yet to turn the corner on bigotry and racial prejudice that has damaged the entire nation. our failure is reflected in both the individual and collective violence that is disproportionately decisioned against people of sclor.
and from justice that is incomp incomprehensible and not reflective of who we say we are as a nation. today, as we commemorate the political and personal triumph of a great lead er leader let us pledge to commit ourselves to the principles he commanded in his lifetime. plauz [ applause ] >> in case anyone is wondering, it does seem like reagan airport is back and fully operational. thank you very much, dr. med ford. there's certainly no better place for discussion of civil war and civil rights than right here at the lincoln memorial. this national memorial honors a man who dedicated his presidency
to the reunification of the union. and he campaigned vigorously for the 13th amendment. at its dedication in 1922, dr. robert moden focused on lincoln's vision for a new birth of freedom as the focal point of the me moral up to that point. from that point on however, the lincoln memorial became a national stage for those fighting for civil rights. others who followed in bowden's footsteps include mary anne anderson at the lincoln memorial in 1939 when she was barred from singing at the segregated constitution hall. and, of course dr. martin luther king, jr. who gave his famous i have a dream speech here during the march on washington for jobs and freedom
in 1963. two years late ere, dr. king took his struggle to selma, ael al. king and 600 civil rights supporters attempted to march to montgomery, alabama, by way of the edmond-pettis bridge. they were met with tear gas and billy clubs. the clash was televised around the world and would become to be known as bloody sunday. a few weeks later, on march march 21st 1965 dr. king successfully led the march from selma to montgomery. where he delivered speech to the al alabama state capitol where he quoted battle hymn of the republic in a song that became the anthem of the civil rights movement. here with us today is the washington performing arts
♪ he had boost the fateful lighting of his terrible, swift sword ♪ ♪ his truth is marching on ♪ ♪ glory, glory halleluiah ♪ ♪ glory, glory halleluiah ♪ ♪ glory, glory, halleluiah ♪ ♪ his truth is marching on: ♪ isle eve seen the swift chl watch of the terrible. they have keeps his righteous sword of bearing mass ♪ ♪ his day is marching forth.
well, all i can say is wow. thank you very much for that stirring music. ladies and gentlemen, that concludes today's program. but we have one more thing for you to do. we'd like you to get up out of your chairs, walk to the next layer of stairs here at the lincoln memorial and have a group photo. it's an opportunity to get your picture taken with president lincoln. on behalf of the national park service and the lincoln group, thank you so much for coming today. [ applause ]