Sen. Barack Obama paid tribute Monday to the black leadership in the civil rights battles of the ’60s and ’70s, but reminded members of the NAACP that those leaders “were not much older than many of you when they made their mark on history.”
“If I have the privilege of serving as your next president, 100 years after the founding of the NAACP, I will stand up for you the same way that earlier generations of Americans stood up for me — by fighting to ensure that every single one of us has the chance to make it if we try,” Obama said.
“That means removing the barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding that still exist in America. It means fighting to eliminate discrimination from every corner of our country. It means changing hearts and changing minds and making sure that every American is treated equally under the law.” The Illinois senator’s speech was a historic first: an African-American poised to be the presidential nominee of a major party addressing the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, will address the NAACP on Wednesday. As he did in last year’s speech to the NAACP, Obama said Monday that “we have more work to do” even after the gains made from the struggles of the older civil rights leaders. Americans must demand that government and business take more responsibility “to break the cycle of poverty and violence gripping this country,” he said. (Continue Reading…)