President Obama and the First Family arrived in Selma, Alabama, Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
The president was joined by a host of political and key civil rights movement figures as thousands gathered to hear him speak. Former President George W. Bush, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King III were among those in attendance.
During his address, which comes days after the Justice Department heavily criticized the Ferguson Police Department for its rampant racism, President Obama spoke on racial progress but also rejected the idea that America is post-racial.
“Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.
Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much.“
You can check out the full transcript of President Obama’s speech here.
Check out a few more photos below.