President Joe Biden condemns historical whitewashing: 'We can't just choose to learn what we want to know'
President Joe Biden visited Selma, Alabama over the weekend to commemorate the 58th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” a 1965 peaceful march for Black suffrage led by Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chairman John Lewis during Southern segregation that was assaulted by law enforcement because the six hundred demonstrators crossing the Emmit Pettus Bridge ignored police officers' commands to disband.
"Attendance at the anniversary crossing of the bridge has become a rite of passage for presidents and other politicians," USA Today explained on Sunday.
"Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all made the pilgrimage there, each one joining modern-day civil rights activists as they traced the same path across the bridge made by those marchers nearly six decades ago. Kamala Harris, the first woman to serve as vice president, led the procession last year," the paper noted. "Biden's visit on Sunday will mark the third time he has participated in the commemoration."
READ MORE: Watch: John Lewis Recalls Bloody Sunday 1965
Biden gave a twenty-minute speech in which he recalled the violence and condemned the recent wave of right-wing whitewashing of history in classrooms across the United States.
"The truth matters. Notwithstanding what the other team is trying to hide, they're trying to hide the truth no matter how hard some people try. We can't just choose to learn what we want to know and not what we should know. We should learn everything the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation," Biden said.
"Six hundred believers put faith into action to march across that bridge named after the Grand Dragon of the KKK. They were on their way to the state capitol in Montgomery to claim their fundamental right to vote laid in the bedrock of our Constitution but stolen by hate harbored in too many hearts," he continued.
"With unflinching courage, foot soldiers for marched — for justice marched through the valley of the shadow of death, and they feared no evil," Biden added. "The forces of hate conspired to demise, but they endured. They forced the country to confront the hard truths and to act to keep the promise of America alive."
READ MORE: Fifty Years After Bloody Sunday in Selma, Everything and Nothing Has Changed
Biden also shared that he "was a student up north in the Civil Rights Movement. I remember feeling how guilty I was. I wasn't here. How could we all be up there and you going through what you went through, looking at those — I can still picture — you can still picture the troopers with their batons and wands and whips" laying siege to "a promise that declares we're all created and deserve to be treated equally."
Yet "two weeks later, they marched to Montgomery with Dr. King, an even bigger coalition of people from different races and faiths," Biden stated, emphasizing that "five months later, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law."
Biden then highlighted the conservative crusade against voting rights and the dangers that it poses to all Americans.
"But as I come here in commemoration — not for show — Selma is a reckoning. The right to vote — the right to vote and to have your vote counted is the threshold of democracy and liberty. With it, anything is possible. Without it — without that right, nothing is possible. And this fundamental right remains under assault. The conservative Supreme Court has gutted the Voting Rights Act over the years," Biden said.
"Since the 2020 election, a wave of states and dozens — dozens of anti-voting laws fueled by the Big Lie, and the election deniers now elected to office," the president elucidated. "The new law here in Alabama, among other things, enacted a new congressional map that discriminated against Black voters by failing to include what should've been a new predominately Black district. That case, as you all know better than I, is in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. And my U.S. Department of Justice has joined many of you in arguing that the map violates the Voting Rights Act. All of this after a deadly insurrection on January the 6th. We must remain vigilant."
Watch below or at this link.
WATCH LIVE: Biden gives remarks on 58th anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' in Selma, Alabamawww.youtube.com
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