President Obama and a Poignant Anniversary

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American History, Obama Administration

The President made a powerful statement on race in America today. In the wake of the tragic Zimmerman verdict,

Mr. Obama eloquently rebutted those — like Republican Congressman Andy Harris with his dismissive “get over it” remark on Tuesday — who said that the verdict should have ended discussion of the case, especially talk about race and gun laws.

“Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Mr. Obama said, adding that “it’s important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.”

He said there are “very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store” or “the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.”

“That,” he said, “includes me.”

The full transcript is here. See also Why Obama Decided To Speak Out On Race And The Zimmerman Verdict.

It so happens today is the 150th anniversary of the assault on Fort Wagner by the 54th Massachusetts regiment, which you might remember was portrayed in the film Glory a few years back. The 54th Massachusetts was the first African-American regiment organized in the North to fight for the Union. The 54th suffered nearly 45 percent casualties at Fort Wagner, but gained immortality.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. uncledad  •  Jul 19, 2013 @8:51 pm

    The reaction from the dimwitted teabaggers is predictable but really unbelievable; they have become so rigid and bitter they cannot even acknowledge that race may have played a role in both the shooting and the verdict. They call Trayvon a thug post pictures of him with a grill and then deny it was racial?

  2. uncledad  •  Jul 20, 2013 @12:00 am

    “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,”

    This is the line that has the other side all in a twist? Never would have guessed? The real problem here is that we have a substantial population in this country that will never consider a black man equal, unless he is 100% compliant!. I wonder did president Obama consider saying something the teabaggers would agree with? What could he say: It’s OK you can say Niggra?

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 20, 2013 @6:54 am

    “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Mr. Obama said…

    Don’t give them any idea’s, Sir.
    Or, any opportunities, either.

    President Obama’s election, and reelection, brought out the best and worst in us. Only I’m afraid the worst, is so much worse than “the better angels of our nature.”

    If, and I hope it’s only an IF, one of theirs pulls a Lee Harvey Oswald, our Reich Wingers will immediately wash their hands of him, and say they had no culpability in the assassination – they can’t be held responsible ‘for the actions of a lone nut.’
    And they will join the nation in mourning, and tears.
    Only theirs, will be tears of joy.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 20, 2013 @8:34 am

    Oh, and many thanks for the sacrifice of the brave men of 54th Massachusetts!

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 20, 2013 @10:11 am

    OT – the GREAT Helen Thomas has died, at age 92:
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/20/us/helen-thomas-obit/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    OY!!!
    One of the last real journalists. And one of the last ones with any balls – and I mean that in the best possible way.

    R.I.P. Ms. Thomas.
    YA DONE GOOD!!!

  6. James F. Epperson  •  Jul 20, 2013 @10:37 am

    Isn’t the date for the Fort Wagner attack usually give as July 18? It was a night attack, so it took place on both the 18th and 19th, but it is usually dated to the 18th.

    Sorry to be picky.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 20, 2013 @10:56 am

    And at this point in the calendar, I’m sure they were still burying their dead, and tending to the wounded – so I suppose a little extension on our appreciation of the 150th anniversary of their heroic effort, isn’t too much to ask.



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