Monday, June 10, 2013

"Kennedy’s Finest Moment"

"But he quickly spun that news into a plea for national unity behind what he, for the first time, called a 'moral issue.' It seems obvious today that civil rights should be spoken of in universal terms, but at the time many white Americans still saw it as a regional, largely political question. And yet here was the leader of the country, asking 'every American, regardless of where he lives,' to 'stop and examine his conscience.'       
"Then he went further. Speaking during the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation—an anniversary he had assiduously avoided commemorating, earlier that year—Kennedy eloquently linked the fate of African-American citizenship to the larger question of national identity and freedom. America, 'for all its hopes and all its boasts,' observed Kennedy, 'will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.'"
Peniel E. Joseph in The New York Times marks the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy 1963 speech on civil rights. 

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