50th Anniversary of the March on Washington: On Wednesday, President Obama spoke from the Lincoln Memorial at the “Let Freedom Ring” Ceremony, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. President Obama was joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with members of the King family, civil rights leaders and other dignitaries. Thousands converged from across the country to join in this historic event. In his remarks, President Obama honored the heroes that marched in 1963, but stressed that while the nation has come far in the past fifty years, there is still work to be done.
But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete. The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own. To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency.
In recognition of the historic March on Washington, Administration officials wrote blog posts reflecting what the civil rights movement meant for the country, the urgency of continuing that march, and what lies ahead.
For more information, check out six videos that capture our favorite moments of the President with icons of the Civil Rights Movement.
“The Powerbroker” Screening: A day before the President spoke at the Lincoln Memorial, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a screening of “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” a documentary detailing the life and achievements of the civil rights leader. The First Lady also spoke to a group of students who attended the screening.
The thing I want you all to remember, as you watch this film, is that we are here because of that struggle. I'm here because of that struggle. And even though you may think you have some struggles, your paths are a whole lot easier because of the work these men and women did.
Women’s Equality Day: Tuesday was Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment and celebrates advocates like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ida B. Wells who devoted their lives to ensuring that women would have a voice in democracy. In advance of Women’s Equality Day, the President visited Seneca Falls, New York during his college affordability bus tour, where the first Women’s Right Convention was held in 1848. President Obama presented the Women’s Rights National Historic Park with a copy of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the first bill he signed into law, which makes it easier for women to bring forward pay discriminations.
Medal of Honor Ceremony: Also on Tuesday, the President presented the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter. Carter was one of 53 Americans stationed at an outpost in Afghanistan when they came under attack by more than 300 Taliban fighters. The President recognized Carter’s strength on the battlefield but also his strength off the battlefield for speaking openly about his struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress.
ATF Director Sworn-In: Vice President Joe Biden swore-in B. Todd Jones as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Thursday. The Vice President also announced two new executive actions to reduce gun violence, building on the gun violence reduction plan he and the President presented at the beginning of this year.
Appointment of new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan: On Wednesday, President Obama appointed Ambassador Donald Booth as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Ambassador Booth will play a vital role in supporting peace between these two nations.