Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 25th MLK Day

HISTORY FEATURES:

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS:

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IN FOCUS

  • Martin Luther King Jr., Jan. 15, 1929 to April 4, 1968: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!” With these words, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. built a crescendo to his final speech on April 3, 1968. The next day, the civil rights leader was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn…. – NYT
  • Obama, nation commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. DayChicago Times-Union
  • The King Center: The official, living memorial dedicated to the advancement of the legacy of King. Founded by Coretta Scott King. – www.thekingcenter.org/
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
    I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
    I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”
  • “I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land! I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”
  • “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
  • “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
  • “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
  • “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

THE HEADLINES….

Michelle Obama's 'Embarrassing' 47th Birthday Serenade

  • Obama Honors Martin Luther King Jr: U.S. President Barack Obama has honored slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. by taking part in a service project at a local school. Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and their two children participated in a painting project Monday, the federal holiday that honors King. Members of the president’s Cabinet are attending memorial events and taking part in community service projects across the nation.
    At the school, President Obama said King’s dream was for equality and justice, as well as service to the country. The King Center in Atlanta caps more than a week of events Monday with commemorative ceremonies, volunteer activities and community programs…. – VOA, 1-17-11
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 25: The message remains powerful: That question is the backdrop as the United States on Monday marks the 25th federal observance of Martin Luther King Day (see below for a timeline). Illinois became the first state, in 1973, to sign into law a King holiday, thanks to representative, and future Chicago mayor, Harold Washington…. – THE SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER, 1-15-11
  • Clarence B. Jones: On Martin Luther King Day, remembering the first draft of ‘I Have a Dream': It was the late spring of 1963, and my friend Martin was exhausted. The campaign to integrate the public facilities in Birmingham had been successful but also tremendously taxing. In its aftermath, he wanted nothing more than to take Coretta and the children away for a vacation and forget – forget the looming book deadline, the office politics of his ever-growing Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the constant need to raise funds.
    But a date for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom had been nailed down – Aug. 28 – and Martin realized he couldn’t plan such a massive undertaking with the usual endless interruptions. No, if this march were going to come together in time, he would have to escape all the distractions. (This was a man, after all, whose best writing was done inside a jail cell.) He needed to get away to a place where very few people could reach him…. – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • Martin Luther King Day: “I have a dream”: In his historic speech from the Lincoln Memorial on August 23, 1963, Martin Luther King called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Why are you thankful?: On April 5, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a day of national mourning, saying in part: “Men of all races, all religions, all regions must join together in this hour to deny violence its victory — and to fulfill the vision of brotherhood that gave purpose to Martin Luther King’s life and work. … In our churches, in our homes, and in our private hearts, let us resolve before God to stand against divisiveness in our country and all its consequences.”
    On Monday, for the 43rd year, the country will pause in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. This year will mark an even bigger tribute with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, slated to open in August in Washington… – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • About a third of Americans say Obama’s presidency has improved race relations: Despite high public expectations that Barack Obama’s presidency would improve race relations in the country, barely more than a third of all Americans now say his tenure has made things better in this area, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall, 35 percent say Obama has helped race relations; down from 58 percent who, in January 2009, expected them to improve as a result of the country’s having its first black president. And blacks and whites continue to have starkly different assessments about how African Americans are faring in America today when it comes to the racial equality championed by Martin Luther King, Jr. WaPo, 1-17-11Full Story
  • For the Obamas, a Day of Service: President Obama took his family to a local middle school to participate in a painting project to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, calling attention to service projects around the nation in honor of the slain civil rights leader. Mr. Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha, went to Stuart Hobson Middle School in Washington where they met mentors and the young people they were helping with different projects. It is Mrs. Obama’s 47th birthday, and she was greeted with a lively rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
    “Michelle and I and the girls are extraordinarily proud that each year on Martin Luther King’s birthday this is how we celebrate is making sure we’re giving back to the community,” Mr. Obama said. Referring indirectly to the shootings in Tucson on Jan. 8, he said: “After a painful week where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves what this country is all about. This kind of service project is what’s best in us.” The Obamas helped paint apple characters in the cafeteria to encourage healthy eating…. – NYT, 1-17-11
  • President Barack Obama: “This is just an outstanding program, an example of what Martin Luther King’s birthday should be all about … Dr. King obviously had a dream of justice and equality in our society but he also had a dream of service, that you could be a drum major for service, that you could lead by giving back to our communities. That’s what this program is all about.” “Michelle and I and the girls are extraordinarily proud that each year on Martin Luther King’s birthday this is how we celebrate is making sure we’re giving back to the community.” -
  • On his day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of peace lauded in wake of Arizona shootings: The nation observed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Monday with thousands volunteering for service projects and more reflecting on his lessons of nonviolence and civility in the week following the shootings in Arizona.
    Six people were killed in Tucson and Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is fighting for her life. The violent outburst was a reminder to many gathered at King’s former church in Atlanta that the Baptist preacher’s message remained relevant nearly four decades after his own untimely death at the hands of an assassin.
    Attorney General Eric Holder praised him as “our nation’s greatest drum major of peace” and said the Jan. 8 bloodshed was a call to recommit to King’s values of nonviolence, tolerance, compassion and justice. “Last week a senseless rampage in Tucson reminded us that more than 40 years after Dr. King’s own tragic death, our struggle to eradicate violence and to promote peace goes on,” Holder said.
    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle volunteered to paint for a service project at a middle school in Washington’s Capitol Hill. He urged Americans to get out into their communities — a step he suggested would have special meaning following the shootings. “After a painful week where so many of us were focused on the tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves of what this country is all about,” he said…. – Chicago Tribune, 1-17-11
  • Obama recalls MLK’s Challenge of a New Age in holiday sermon: President Barack Obama spent his Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Washington DC today…. Obama’s speech at Vermont Avenue Baptist ended four minutes shy of 30 minutes. He ended the sermon stating “it’s faith that gives me peace. The same faith that leads a single mother to work two jobs to put a roof over her head when she has doubts. The same faith that keeps an unemployed father to keep on submitting job applications even after he’s been rejected a hundred times. The same faith that says to a teacher even if the first nine children she’s teaching she can’t reach, that the 10th one she’s going to be able to reach.”
    He asked the congregation to “hold fast to that faith, as Joshua held fast to the faith of his fathers, and together, we shall overcome the challenges of a new age. Together we shall seize the promise of this moment. Together, we shall make a way through winter, and we’re going to welcome the spring. Through God all things are possible.”
    Obama exited in hopes that the “memory of Dr. Martin Luther King continue to inspire us and ennoble our world and all who inhabit it.”
    President Obama is the first Democratic president in contemporary memory to freely call upon God, faith and religion without reservation to party politics or liberal ideologies…. – HULIQ, 1-17-11
  • On holiday, Massachusetts honors Martin Luther King Jr.: Some 1,000 people honored Martin Luther King Jr. this morning at the city’s annual holiday breakfast in his name, remembering the slain civil rights leader as a transformative force for good and pledging to build upon his legacy.
    “He showed us the path,” said Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, who paid tribute to King as an inspiring figure who “fought for the dignity of every human being.”
    In a well-received speech at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, keynote speaker Melissa Harris-Perry drew parallels between today’s divisive political climate and 1967, the year of King’s final book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”… – Boston Globe, 1-17-11
  • NY leaders gather to mark King day: New York’s civic leaders are gathering with the Rev. Al Sharpton to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are among those scheduled to participate in Sharpton’s annual event at held at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. There were several other city leaders slated to speak at the forum. Sharpton held a breakfast event earlier Monday in Washington…. – WSJ, 1-17-11
  • Obama attends church services in D.C. on Sunday: Metroplian AME was filled with people who are waiting to see the Obama family. “We have been waiting to see this for two years,” said one church member as he passed through a line of metal detectors. President Obama and the first family will join D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to worship at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Northwest during a service that will reflect on the spiritual fervor of Martin Luther King Jr.
    Last year the president delivered a major address the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Districts Vermont Avenue Baptist Church where King spoke when he was alive. White House sources say this year the president has chosen to sit quietly in the pews with members of the historic church and listen along with his family and other White House officials. The Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, pastor of the historic congregation founded in 1838, will deliver the sermon from a church designated as the “national cathedral” of the African Methodist Episcopal Church that has more than 7,000 churches and 3 million members around the world…. – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • For Some Students in the South, a King Day Lacking That ‘Holiday’ Feature: …By state law, the only holiday he cannot cancel is Veterans Day. His solution? Make children go to school on Monday, the day when most of the nation’s schools are closed to observe Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
    In the South, where establishing an official holiday for Dr. King was long in coming, that kind of move can be particularly controversial. But administrators in a handful of districts in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina say they have no choice after this past week of unusually brutal ice and snow in the South put the district behind schedule.
    That is not going over well with some parents and politicians.
    “It always seems like Martin Luther King day is the first one they are willing to give up,” said Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton have also weighed in. “We’re urging people to keep their kids home,” Mr. Sharpton said. “It’s un-American not to observe the holiday.”… – NYT, 1-14-11
  • Rochelle Riley: What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Dream’ be today?: His life has become part of our history texts — the Baptist minister who led the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., who four years before his death became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the man who gave the Speech. For this year’s celebration of King’s dream, I interviewed metro Detroiters about King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which he delivered in Detroit and then in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1963….
    As America debates what hate speech can ignite and whether vicious political rhetoric can be a match, I wonder whether one who dared to dream now might be drowned out by a million YouTube dismissals or the catcalls of boorish ideologues who see only the America they want? Had King lived to be 82, what would he write now? What would you say if you were giving the Speech?… – Detroit FREEP, 1-15-11
  • Taking to roads to find Martin Luther King’s legacy: It started as a series of high school road trips, chances to venture out of the District with the loose intention of picking apart a well-worn Chris Rock joke about the violence on streets named after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Eight teenagers from five D.C. high schools criss-crossed the country with two mentors and video cameras, visiting more than a dozen “MLK streets.” Their driving tours in 2008 coincided with the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, putting the students between a history they barely knew and history in the making.
    The documentary they produced is still in rough cut, though it was aired at Anacostia Library as a run-up to the Martin Luther King holiday. But the images they now carry with them, they said, have reshaped how they think about themselves and their world…. – WaPo, 1-17-11
  • CPS students honor King by lending a helping hand: Chicago Public Schools students and faculty volunteered today to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service.
    Students from Bogan High School filled bag after bag with food in the basement of Epiphany Catholic Church in Little Village, helping the regular volunteers prepare for a Monday food pantry.
    “It’s good to give the kids an opportunity to help out and do something good for the community,” said Rozella Garrett, who has volunteered with the food pantry every Monday for 40 years. “They’re a great help.”… – Chicago Tribune, 1-17-11
  • King Day presents opportunity for celebration, teaching Educators, historians discuss challenges of teaching his life, legacy: All of the elements were in place at Leith Walk Elementary School for a proper Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration. Students at the Northeast Baltimore school were prepped with songs from the civil rights movement; Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday” was on deck. They’d completed assignments detailing their own dreams earlier in the week and listened in awe as Tony Marshall, who works for the school system, recited the “I Have a Dream” speech, excerpts from the work that he had learned decades earlier as a fourth-grader at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.
    For many schoolchildren, this kind of celebration has been a hallmark of King Day ever since the holiday, which is marked around the nation today, was established 25 years ago. But some experts and educators say that students need to know more about King’s life and legacy to place him in historical context. “There was a long legacy of heroes and ‘she-roes’ that led to Dr. King,” said Raymond A. Winbush, director of the Institute of Urban Research at Morgan State University. “As educators, we’ve got to contextualize Dr. King in the struggle for human rights, and we just don’t do that.”… – Baltimore Sun, 1-16-11
  • Dr. King and New York City: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is identified mostly with Washington and the South, but he was officially an honorary New Yorker and the city plays a not insignificant role in his biography. In 1958, 10 years before he was assassinated in Memphis, Dr. King was autographing copies of his book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in a Harlem department store when a deranged women stabbed him with a letter opener. He was taken to Harlem Hospital for surgery.
    In the summer of 1964, after the shooting of a 15-year-old by an off-duty police officer touched off riots in Harlem, Mayor Robert F. Wagner invited Dr. King to New York on a peace mission (one made slightly more complicated by the fact that some black leaders resented that the mayor had invited Dr. King without consulting them). Later that year, one week after he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway, Dr. King was proclaimed an honorary New Yorker by the mayor who presented him with the Medallion of Honor at City Hall…. – NYT, 1-16-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day shares holiday with Gen. Robert E. Lee Day: In Arkansas, it’s not only Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s also the state holiday Gen. Robert E. Lee Day. That’s causing some heated discussion. Lee was a commander in the confederate army. His birthday is Wednesday. State lawmakers voted to make it a legal holiday back in 1947. On the State of Arkansas Facebook page, they wished everyone a happy holiday for both holidays and it spawned several comments both negative and positive. Alabama and Mississippi have the duel holiday as well…. – Todays THV AK, 1-17-11

QUOTES

President Barack Obama Helps Paint Pictures of Fruit During a Service Project on Martin Luther King Day

  • “An Example of What Martin Luther King’s Birthday Should Be All About”: THE PRESIDENT: This is just an outstanding program, an example of what Martin Luther King’s birthday should be all about. I want to thank all the mentees and mentors who are participating.
    Dr. King obviously had a dream of justice and equality in our society, but he also had a dream of service, that you could be a drum major for service, that you could lead by giving back to our communities. And that’s what this program is all about and that’s what these participants are all about.
    Michelle and I the girls are extraordinarily proud that each year on Martin Luther King’s birthday this is how we celebrate, is making sure that we’re giving a little something back to the community. And I hope that all the projects that are taking place all across the country on this day are getting similar attention, because this is part of what America is all about. And after a painful week where so many of us were focused on tragedy, it’s good for us to remind ourselves what this country is all about. This kind of service project is what’s best in us and we’re thrilled with everybody who is participating. – WH, 1-17-11
  • Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s Life and Legacy: Secretary Salazar reports on the progress underway at the memorial being constructed on the National Mall in Dr. Martin Luther King’s honor…. – WH, 1-17-11
  • John McCain: Commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy today. He was a true American hero who stood up to adversity and will continue to impact our country for generations to come.
  • Sarah Palin: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Today is a day to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King dedicated himself to justice and the struggles of an imperfect world. In the face of fierce opposition, he stood up for the oppressed, and he ultimately sacrificed all for equality and freedom. His was a remarkable life of love and service for all mankind. His work must continue.
    With Dr. King’s faith in God and his unwavering hope in a brighter, stronger future, let us recommit today to continuing his work for a more peaceful and just nation…. – Fox News, 1-17-11
  • Giffords’ husband urges volunteer service: The husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is urging Americans to volunteer in their communities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Many of you have asked how you can help and how you can honor the memory of those who were wounded or lost their lives. What united the victims of the tragedy on Saturday was service – they volunteered in church or at soup kitchens, worked in government, and tended to their communities. On behalf of Gabby and our family, I ask that you consider honoring their commitment to service by dedicating a few hours on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this Monday, January 17th, to volunteer in your community,” Mark Kelly said in a statement distributed by the Giffords for Congress campaign.
    Kelly also said in the statement that “The prayers and good wishes from the people of Southern Arizona and the country are deeply appreciated by our family. Your continued outpouring of support is powerful. As Gabby continues her recovery, I know she will be inspired and motivated by the heartfelt messages you have sent. Keep sending them.” – JTA, 1-16-11

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Dana Goldstein: American schools more segregated today than when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed: American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago. The average white child in America attends a school that is 77 percent white, and where just 32 percent of the student body lives in poverty. The average black child attends a school that is 59 percent poor but only 29 percent white. The typical Latino kid is similarly segregated; his school is 57 percent poor and 27 percent white.
    Overall, a third of all black and Latino children sit every day in classrooms that are 90 to 100 percent black and Latino…. – WaPo, 1-17-11
  • Imani Perry, an African-American studies professor at Princeton University: Nation ponders King in wake of Arizona shootings: “Dr. King’s message was about inclusion and the recognition of human dignity, of human rights and making sure that all of our voices are heard,” said Imani Perry, an African-American studies professor at Princeton University. “I hope people in Arizona, in particular, embrace that part of his message. The politics in Arizona recently have often seemed to revolve around excluding people.” – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • Morgan State University professor Jared Ball: Nation ponders King in wake of Arizona shootings: “So little of his real politics show up in these annual commemorations,” said Morgan State University professor Jared Ball. “Instead of actually reading what he wrote or listening to what he said, we pick catchphrases and throw his name around. We all feel for the tragic incident that took place in Arizona, but this is happening to people all over the world every day in one form or another.” – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • Rice University history professor Douglas Brinkley: Nation ponders King in wake of Arizona shootings: A national remembrance of the civil rights icon is an opportunity for the country to renew its commitment to King’s cause. Absent that, it’s unclear how his legacy would be remembered, said Rice University history professor Douglas Brinkley. “The holiday brought the freedom struggle into the main narrative,” Brinkley said. “The day is meant to be a moment of reflection against racism, poverty and war. It’s not just an African-American holiday. The idea of that day is to try to understand the experience of people who had to overcome racism but in the end are part and parcel of the American quilt.” “The struggle that the holiday itself has is to not just be a day off,” Brinkley said. “We have trouble with that. We have to constantly be vigilant not to let that happen.” – WaPo, 1-16-11
  • Martin Luther King’s legacy will be celebrated at forum: Martin Luther King Jr. will be celebrated at the annual “With Liberty and Justice for All” symposium Monday at 10 a.m. in Anderson Theatre, inside The Henry Ford. This year’s program will feature professor Martha S. Jones, a legal scholar and University of Michigan historian. Following her presentation will be a dramatic reading of an excerpt from the well-known 1978 Howard University address by Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African-American member of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a panel discussion with high school students from throughout Metro Detroit. This event is free; however, reservations are required. The Henry Ford is at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or to reserve a seat, visit thehenryford.org. – The Detroit News, 1-16-11

History Buzz: May 31, 2010: Martin Luther King, Jr., Thomas Fleming, Michael Bellesiles, & Jonathan Alter on Obama in the News

History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor/Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY BUZZ:

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

IN FOCUS

  • Michael A. Bellesiles Contraversial New Book “1877: America’s Year of Living Violently”HNN
  • Thomas Fleming “Channelling George Washington” Series – HNN
  • Orlando Figes Contraversay: Who gives a Figes for Orlando? – Sydney Morning Herald, 5-18-10

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

    On This Day in History….

    This Week in History….

  • Malcolm and Martin, closer than we ever thought: As the 85th birthday of Malcolm X is marked on Wednesday, history has freeze-framed him as the angry black separatist who saw whites as blue-eyed devils. Yet near the end of his life, Malcolm X was becoming more like King — and King was becoming more like him. “In the last years of their lives, they were starting to move toward one another,” says David Howard-Pitney, who recounted the Capitol Hill meeting in his book “Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.” “While Malcolm is moderating from his earlier position, King is becoming more militant,” Pitney says…. – CNN, 5-19-10

HISTORY NEWS:

  • Controversy over medieval conference location in Arizona: The site of next year’s annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America is in doubt after scholars raised objections that it is being held in Arizona, the US state which recently passed controversial legislation against illegal immigration. As several scholars have made calls for the conference to be boycotted, officials with the academy have confirmed that they are examining several options, including moving the meeting out-of-state… – Medieval News, 5-24-10
  • Why Arizona targeted ethnic studies: Earlier this month Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that had been pushed by Tom Horne, Arizona’s longtime secretary of education,who took a disliking to the program several years ago. The bill prohibits any class in the state from promoting either the overthrow of the U.S. government or resentment toward a race or class of people, and that advocates ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals, and — here’s the big one — that are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group. The Tucson program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and includes information about the influence of a particular ethnic group… – WaPo, 5-25-10
  • Historian Stuart Macintyre slams Australian school course: Professor Macintyre told The Australian the consultation process set up by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority had become derailed by “capricious” decisions made to change the course without reference to the expert advisory groups or the writers…. – The Australian (5-25-10)
  • Company, Harvard prof work on Web-linked textbook, WWII game: “Today’s students want to be engaged, and those who play strategy games know more about history than those who just read today’s textbooks,” said Ferguson. “The interactive approach to learning history is going to be a game-changer.”… – Boston Herald, 5-24-10
  • More conservative textbook curriculum OK’d: In a landmark move that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for U.S. history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. Split along party lines, the board delivered a pair of 9-5 votes to adopt the new standards, which will dictate what is taught in all Texas schools and provide the basis for future textbooks and student achievement tests over the next decade…. – The Dallas Morning News, 5-22-10
  • Texas State Board of Education Approves Controversial Social Studies Curriculum Changes: On Friday, the members of the Texas State Board of Education voted 9-5 on social studies curriculum standards for Texas Public Schools. Proposed revisions to textbooks will largely eliminate the civil rights movement from the curriculum. Former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous were among those who spoke before the board earlier in the week. Paige, who served as Education Secretary during President George W. Bush’s first term, implored the board members to take more time to consider the new standards, saying they will diminish the importance of civil rights and slavery…. – Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 5-24-10
  • AHA Calls on the Texas State Board of Education to Reconsider TEKS Social Studies Amendments – AHA Press Release, 5-18-10
  • New Report Shows Little Growth in Salaries for History Faculty: Historians in academia saw little, if any improvement in their wages over the past academic year, as average salaries for regular full-time faculty at most ranks grew by less than 1 percent according to a new study from the College and University Personnel Association for Human Resources (CUPA–HR). This represents the smallest average increase in salaries for historians in 15 years…. – Robert Townsend in Perspectives, 4-22-10
  • Historian helps to save Lake Ontario steamship: An iconic photo taken by historian Mike Filey shows three canoeists paddling out of a partly submerged, abandoned Toronto ferry…. In this case instead of being scrapped, the century-old paddlewheeler was raised and refitted after Filey and his wife, Yarmila, launched a bid to save the vessel after seeing it “literally rotting” in a Toronto island lagoon…. – Toronto Sun, 5-17-10

OP-EDs:

  • Joe Mozingo: An old diary throws him a curve: He could grasp having a black ancestor way back in the 1600s. But in the 1800s? A slave? It had to be a mistake. What would his family think?… – LAT, 5-22-10

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • DAVID OSHINSKY on Daniel Okrent: Temperance to Excess: LAST CALL The Rise and Fall of Prohibition “Last Call,” by Daniel Okrent, provides the sobering answers. Okrent, the author of four previous books and the first public editor of The New York Times, views Prohibition as one skirmish in a larger war waged by small- town white Protestants who felt besieged by the forces of change then sweeping their nation — a theory first proposed by the historian Richard Hofstadter more than five decades ago. Though much has been written about Prohibition since then, Okrent offers a remarkably original account, showing how its proponents combined the nativist fears of many Americans with legitimate concerns about the evils of alcohol to mold a movement powerful enough to amend the United States Constitution…. – NYT, 5-23-10
  • Nick Bunker: Founding Entrepreneurs: MAKING HASTE FROM BABYLON The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History Maybe the most important point that Bunker highlights concerns the interplay between the Pilgrims’ faith and their education, political standing and financial position…. – NYT, 5-23-10Excerpt
  • Hampton Sides: Death of a Dream: HELLHOUND ON HIS TRAIL The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin There’s still a line between narrative history and entertainment, in other words, and Hampton Sides flirts with it in his new book about James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King, “Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His ­Assassin.” If that sounds like a graphic novel, well, you’re getting the drift. Sides, whose books include “Ghost Soldiers,” a World War II drama, and “Blood and Thunder,” on the conquest of the American West, is not overly interested in new research, thorough­going analysis or traditional bio­graphy. He wants to deliver a heart-pounding nonfiction thriller. This must be the first book on King that owes less to Taylor Branch than Robert Ludlum…. – NYT, 5-16-10Excerpt
  • Jonathan Alter: Penetrating the Process of Obama’s Decisions: THE PROMISE President Obama, Year One Alter’s book “The Promise” actually does give us a new perspective on the 44th president by providing a detailed look at his decision-making process on issues like health care and the Afghanistan war, and a keen sense of what it’s like to work in his White House, day by day.
    It’s an effective and often revealing approach reminiscent of Mr. Alter’s 2006 book, “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope” (a book that Mr. Obama reportedly read before taking office), and Richard Reeves’s 1993 book, “President Kennedy: Profile of Power,” though obviously without the kind of retrospective wisdom possible decades after the completion of those presidents’ tenures…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Jonathan Alter: Interim Report: THE PROMISE President Obama, Year One One of the earliest off the mark is Jonathan Alter…. “The Promise” offers an excellent opportunity to appraise Obama’s initial efforts. Drawing on interviews with over 200 people, including the president and his top aides, Alter examines everything from the economic bailouts to the military surge in Afghanistan.
    Throughout, he seeks to avoid what he refers to as the “polemics of punditry.” This endows his narrative with a lapidary tone that is mercifully free of the breathless sensationalism of recent campaign books, but it also results, at times, in a somewhat cloistered quality… – NYT, 5-30-10
  • David Farber: The Rise of Conservatism, in Historical Scholarship: Now, among the latest entrants to the growing list of books on the right comes David Farber’s The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short History, new from Princeton University Press…. – CHE, 5-26-10
  • The birth control pill’s legacy at 50: Talking with Elaine Tyler May: As May writes in her new book, “America + the Pill,” that is perhaps the one expectation that the Pill has actually fulfilled 50 years later. It was not the miracle drug that solved the population explosion and world poverty; nor did it help defeat communism, as many of its advocates hoped. Its primary legacy today is that it gives the women lucky enough to get it the power to control the creation of life in their bodies — and the chance to reach for their dreams. “The Pill was hugely important in allowing women to control their fertility and their lives,” said May, a professor of history and American studies at the University of Minnesota…. – Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 5-24-10
  • David J. Garrow: Book review: ‘Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin,’ by Hampton Sides: Sides, a Memphis native, divides his book into four strands. The first one traces Ray’s activities following his April 1967 escape from a Missouri prison through the assassination a year later and his flight first to Canada and then to Europe. A second strand follows King’s road to Memphis, and a third paints the city’s racial divisions. The final strand tracks the FBI’s intense hostility toward King and covers its dogged investigation, including forensic success in identifying Ray and the pursuit of the assassin as he makes a bumbling effort to reach white-ruled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)…. – WaPo, 5-14-10
  • Selina Hastings’s ‘The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham,’ reviewed by Michael Dirda: During the second half of his life, William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was the most famous writer in the world. Not only did readers love his sardonic tales of sexual passion and dark secrets, of desperation and sudden violence, but so did Hollywood: More of his stories, novels and plays have been filmed than those of any other author. Just one short story, “Rain” — about the prostitute Sadie Thompson and the preacher obsessed with saving her — has provided star turns for Tallulah Bankhead, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth, among others. As this excellent biography by Selina Hastings makes clear, Somerset Maugham lived a life of quite astonishing richness and variety…. – WaPo, 5-19-10
  • In the beginning with Obama Jonathan Alter’s report just the first chapter of presidential work in progress: Which brings us to where we are. President Obama’s first year in office is done. We are hearing what many think about that. It is not a bad time to wonder what Alter thinks of it. And he obliges us with The Promise (Simon & Schuster, $28). Journalism has been called “literature in a hurry.” Alter’s book is history in a hurry, as he freely admits, but is a good first step for putting events in order and figuring things out…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-16-10

FEATURES:

  • Oscar Martinez: University of Arizona historians asks why Mexico is poorer than the U.S.: Martinez, 67, is a regents professor of history at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He’s finishing his latest book, titled “Why Mexico is Poorer than the United States.” It makes the case that there is a logical, empirically measurable set of answers. “It is greatly exaggerated that Mexico is a rich country with regard to raw materials and resources. The reality is that Mexico is one of the poorest countries in terms of land,” he said. “The difference is the United States has the best space on the planet.”… – El Paso Inc., 5-25-10
  • Will Bagley: My brother, the historian by Pat Bagley: This week one of Utah and the West’s most eminent historians turns 60. He has won dozens of awards, been awarded prestigious fellowships and lectured as far afield as Italy. He even appeared with Russell Crowe in the remake of the Western classic, “3:10 to Yuma.” (OK, he’s in the companion DVD, elucidating on the history of Old West outlawry.) Will Bagley also happens to be my brother. For years he wrote a column in this space called “History Matters.” It was a good label. On one level it alludes to sifting evidence for the salient fact; on another it means that history is not bunk. To Will, history is not dead. I have seen him wade into a discussion and passionately defend the honor and reputation of someone he felt was being slighted. That the person in question is dead and long past caring is beside the point. His best-known work to date, Blood of the Prophets , is a gripping narrative of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the largest white-on-white murder in north America. As it deals with Mormons, Gentiles, a U.S. Army marching on Utah and the LDS Church hierarchy, it wasn’t a task for a shrinking violet…. – The Salt Lake Tribune, 5-21-10
  • From Tory to Turkey: Maverick historian Norman Stone storms back with partisan epic of Cold War world: It isn’t every day that one interviews a figure described on an official British Council website as “notorious”. That badge, which this fearsome foe of drippy-liberal state culture will wear with pride, comes inadvertently via Robert Harris. In his novel Archangel, Harris created the “dissolute historian” (© the British Council and our taxes) Fluke Kelso: an “engaging, wilful, impassioned and irreverent” maverick on the trail of Stalin’s secret papers…. – Independent (UK), 5-14-10

QUOTES:

  • Robert Dallek: The character issue is “always out there”: As a general matter, the character issue never seems to go away. “It’s always out there,” says historian Robert Dallek… – U.S. News & World Report, 5-27-10
  • MN Historian Calls Ft. Snelling ‘Site Of Genocide': Waziyatawin, of Granite Falls, holds a doctorate in history from Cornell. She says Fort Snelling needs an extreme makeover. She wants it torn down. “It feels like a constant assault on our Dakota humanity,” said Waziyatawin. “I don’t want the Fort sitting on that site of genocide,” she said. “I don’t want the American flag flying high. I don’t want soldiers reenacting marching out to that site and firing cannons every day.”… – WCCO (MN), 5-27-10
  • Stalin projected Moscow University’s Museum of Earth Sciences as church, says historian: “On Stalin’s idea, this hall was built as a kind of chapel, a kind of church, where only elite is allowed,” historian Olga Zinovyeva told TV Center…. – Interfax (RU), 5-19-10
  • Nancy F. Koehn: Harvard Business School historian compares Bono to Abraham Lincoln: Nancy F. Koehn, a historian, at the Harvard Business School, and author, celebrated U2’s Bono’s 50th birthday by celebrating the Irish musician and campaigner for his great skills as a leader. She said “Bono, like Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, has not let himself become isolated in an elite atmosphere. He has used his touring and travels as classrooms to help him understand the hopes, dreams and tribulations of his fellow citizens, whom he often calls his brothers and sisters. And he has used this knowledge to light his way, his music and his leadership.”… – Irish Central, 5-14-10
  • Mark Mancall on the idea of public space in a democracy: However the idea of public space, professor of history, emeritus, Stanford university, California, Mark Mancall said, has never been fully achieved anywhere, according to historians. “Gender, ethnic differences, class groupings, all participated in defining who could enter public space,” said the professor, who is the director of the royal education council, Thimphu, during the first of a series of discussions on media and democracy that the Bhutan centre for media and democracy organised yesterday. Kuensel Newspaper, 5-14-10
  • USSR planned nuclear attack on China in 1969 , claims Chinese historian: Liu Chenshan, the author of a series of articles that chronicle the five times China has faced a nuclear threat since 1949, wrote that the most serious threat came in 1969 at the height of a bitter border dispute between Moscow and Beijing that left more than one thousand people dead on both sides. He said Soviet diplomats warned Washington of Moscow’s plans “to wipe out the Chinese threat and get rid of this modern adventurer,” with a nuclear strike, asking the US to remain neutral…. – Telegraph (UK), 5-13-10

INTERVIEWS:

  • Jamie Glazov interviews Olga Velikanova: Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Olga Velikanova, an Assistant Professor of Russian History at the University of North Texas. She was among the first scholars to work with declassified Communist Party and secret police archives. Her research about everyday Stalinism, the cult of Lenin and Russian popular opinion has been broadcast by the BBC, Finnish and Russian radio and TV, as well as the History Channel in Canada. She is the author of Making of an Idol: On Uses of Lenin, The Public Perception of the Cult of Lenin Based on the Archival Materials and The Myth of the Besieged Fortress: Soviet Mass Perception in the 1920s-1930s. She is a recipient of many awards from different international research foundations…. – FrontPageMag, 5-24-10

AWARDS &APPOINTMENTS:

  • The Emerson Prize 2010 Winners: The Emerson Prize is awarded annually to students published in The Concord Review during the previous year who have shown outstanding academic promise in history at the high school level. Since 1995, 74 students have won the Emerson Prize. The five laureates this year were from Ohio, New York, New York, Washington, DC, and Wisconsin. Past laureates have come from Czechoslovakia, Canada, Louisiana, Florida, California, Tennessee, Vermont, Maryland, New Zealand, Texas, Russia, Washington State, Tennessee, Connecticut, Singapore, New Hampshire, Illinois, Japan, and New York.
    2010 Jane Abbottsmith, of Summit Country Day School, in Cincinnati, Ohio (now at Princeton).
    2010 Colin Rhys Hill, of Atlanta International School in Atlanta, Georgia, (now at Christ Church College, Oxford). 2010 Amalia Skilton, of Tempe Preparatory Academy in Tempe, Arizona, (now at Yale).
    2010 Alexander Zou, of Monte Vista High School in Danville, California, (now at Pomona).
    2010 Liang En Wee, of the Hwa Chang Institution in Singapore, (now at the National University of Singapore). – The Concord Review
  • Women behind the rise of the house of Orange-Nassau: WHEN the house of Orange-Nassau finally became monarchs in The Netherlands in 1815, it was the result of hundreds of years of manoeuvring: battles physical and political and, Susan Broomhall contends, a solid effort by generations of the family’s women. “The male line was really weak, they died in battle or were minors for many years,” says Broomhall, a professor of history at the University of Western Australia. “It was the women who kept reminding people of the family through systematically promoting it, so when The Netherlands decided on a monarchy, their family was the obvious choice.” The family still rules, via Queen Beatrix. A $450,000, four-year Australian Research Council grant will help Broomhall and colleague Jacqueline Van Gent tease out the scope of the women’s influence…. – The Australian, 5-26-10
  • Thomas Fleming receives best book award from American Revolution Round Table of New York: The American Revolution Round Table of New York has announced that Thomas Fleming’s The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers has won its 2009 award for best book on the American Revolution. A plaque will be presented to Mr. Fleming at the June 1 meeting of the Round Table at New York City’s Princeton Club. His editor, Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard, currently the editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books, will also be recognized at the ceremony. Previous winners include Mary Beth Norton, James Thomas Flexner, and Willard Sterne Randall…. – HNN, 5-19-10

SPOTTED:

  • History, Not Politics, at Jonathan Spence Jefferson Lecture: Jonathan Spence came here to deliver a speech, but don’t let that fool you: his address — the 39th Annual Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, which took place Thursday — in no way resembled the sort typically associated with D.C…. – Inside Higher Ed, 5-21-10
  • Historian probes native perceptions of foreign diseases: Dr. Kevin Terraciano, professor of history and chair of the Latin American Studies Program at University of California, Los Angeles, gave the 2010 Jonas A. “Steine” Jonasson Endowed Lecture to a crowd of more than 60 people on May 12. “Most studies on the spread of disease beginning in 1520 are focused on the types of disease and how they were spread,” Terraciano said. “But I want to explore what the indigenous people of the time thought the cause and spread of disease was.” Linfield News, 5-14-10

ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS CALENDAR:

  • September 17-18, 2010 at Notre Dame University: Conference aims to bring medieval, early modern and Latin American historians together: An interdisciplinary conference to be held at the University of Notre Dame this fall is making a final call for papers to explore the issue surrounding similarities between late-medieval Iberia and its colonies in the New World. “From Iberian Kingdoms to Atlantic Empires: Spain, Portugal, and the New World, 1250-1700″ is being hosted by the university’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies and will take place on September 17-18, 2010. Medieval News, 4-29-10
  • Thousands of Studs Terkel interviews going online: The Library of Congress will digitize the Studs Terkel Oral History Archive, according to the agreement, while the museum will retain ownership of the roughly 5,500 interviews in the archive and the copyrights to the content. Project officials expect digitizing the collection to take more than two years…. – NYT, 5-13-10
  • Digital Southern Historical Collection: The 41,626 scans reproduce diaries, letters, business records, and photographs that provide a window into the lives of Americans in the South from the 18th through mid-20th centuries.

ON TV:

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

BOOKS COMING SOON:

  • Larry Schweikart: 7 Events that Made America America: And Proved that the Founding Fathers Were Right All Along, (Hardcover) June 1, 2010
  • Spencer Wells: Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization, (Hardcover), June 8, 2010
  • John Mosier: Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin – The Eastern Front, 1941-1945, (Hardcover), June 15, 2010
  • Evan D. G. Fraser: Empires of Food: Feast, Famine, and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, (Hardcover), June 15, 2010
  • Ruth Harris: Dreyfus: Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century (REV), (Hardcover), June 22, 2010
  • James Mauro: Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War, (Hardcover), June 22, 2010.
  • William Marvel: The Great Task Remaining: The Third Year of Lincoln’s War, (Hardcover), June 22, 2010
  • Suzann Ledbetter: Shady Ladies: Nineteen Surprising and Rebellious American Women, (Hardcover), June 28, 2010.
  • Julie Flavell: When London Was Capital of America, (Hardcover), June 29, 2010
  • Donald P. Ryan: Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist, (Hardcover), June 29, 2010
  • Jane Brox: Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, (Hardcover), July 8, 2010.
  • Rudy Tomedi: General Matthew Ridgway, (Hardcover), July 30, 2010.
  • Richard Toye: Churchill’s Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made, (Hardcover), August 3, 2010.
  • Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist Papers, (Hardcover), August 16, 2010
  • Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850, (Hardcover), September 1, 2010
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen, (Hardcover), September 7, 2010
  • James L. Swanson: Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, (Hardcover), September 28, 2010
  • Timothy Snyder: The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (First Trade Paper Edition), (Paperback), September 28, 2010
  • Ron Chernow: Washington: A Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • George William Van Cleve: A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, (Hardcover), October 1, 2010.
  • John Keegan: The American Civil War: A Military History, (Paperback), October 5, 2010
  • Bill Bryson: At Home: A Short History of Private Life, (Hardcover), October 5, 2010
  • Robert M. Poole: On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery , (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Robert Leckie: Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal: The Turning Point of the War , (Paperback), October 26, 2010
  • Manning Marable: Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, (Hardcover), November 9, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • Elizabeth White: The Socialist Alternative to Bolshevik Russia: The Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1917-39, (Hardcover), November 10, 2010
  • G. J. Barker-Benfield: Abigail and John Adams: The Americanization of Sensibility, (Hardcover), November 15, 2010
  • Edmund Morris: Colonel Roosevelt, (Hardcover), November 23, 2010
  • Michael Goldfarb: Emancipation: How Liberating Europe’s Jews from the Ghetto Led to Revolution and Renaissance, (Paperback), November 23, 2010

DEPARTED:

  • Norman A. Graebner, diplomatic historian, dies at 94: Norman A. Graebner, 94, who shaped the field of diplomatic history with his critiques of American foreign policy, died May 10 at the Colonnades retirement community in Charlottesville after a stroke…. – WaPo, 5-14-10

Obama, Historians Remember Martin Luther King, Jr.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

IN THE NEWS….

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. – Beyond Vietnam – A Time To Break The Silence: Starting in 1965, King began to express doubts about the United States’ role in the Vietnam War. In an April 4, 1967 appearance at the New York City Riverside Church—exactly one year before his death—King delivered a speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.[80] In the speech, he spoke strongly against the U.S.’s role in the war, insisting that the U.S. was in Vietnam “to occupy it as an American colony”[81] and calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”.[82] He also argued that the country needed larger and broader moral changes… – Salem News, 1-18-10
  • King papers have reach beyond library walls: In the years since the city of Atlanta acquired more than 10,000 of Dr. Martin Luther King’s personal papers, the collection has been pored over by researchers and used in groundbreaking history courses at Morehouse College. Come February, the writings of Dr. King will be fully available to the public at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1-15-10
  • Rallies, parades honor King’s legacy: “I don’t want to sanitize Martin Luther King Jr.,” Cornel West said. “Even with your foot on the brake, there are too many precious brothers and sisters under the bus,” West said of Obama. “Where is the talk about poverty? We’ve got to protect him and respect him, but we’ve also got to correct him if the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is going to stay alive.” – San Francisco Chronicle, 1-18-10

PRESIDENT OBAMA

The President at So Others Might Eat on Martin Luther King Day

  • Obama to America’s youth: Civil rights struggle isn’t old news: The president hosts a group of African American ‘elders’ at the White House, hoping to remind young people that the battles Martin Luther King Jr. fought weren’t that long ago…. – LAT, 1-18-10
  • Service and Dr. King: In honor of Martin Luther King Day, President Barack Obama serves lunch in the dining room at So Others Might Eat, a soup kitchen in Washington January 18, 2010… – WH, 1-18-10
  • Emancipation Proclam. on display at WH: During an event to mark the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, President Obama said the Emancipation Proclamation — the 1863 document that marked the beginning of the process to free the slaves — would be on loan to the White House. It is being displayed in the Oval Office.
    This copy of the document is one of the authorized copies that was made in 1864, according to the White House press office. The original — signed Jan. 1, 1863 — is in the National Archives. This one may hang in the Oval for six months after which it will be placed in the Lincoln Bedroom where the original was signed…. – MSNBC, 1-18-10
  • Obama Takes to the Pulpit: President Obama told a black church in the nation’s capital today that the promise inherent in his election as the nation’s first African-American president has yet to be fully realized, acknowledging that partisan Washington politics continued to play a big role in governance.
    But Mr. Obama promised that his health reform package — now hanging in the balance because of the Massachusetts Senate race — will soon become law. “Under the legislation I plan to sign into law, insurance companies won’t be able to drop you,” he said, to murmurs from the congregation at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, which was founded by freed slaves. – NYT, 1-17-10

HISTORIANS

P011810PS-0610 by The White House.

President Barack Obama views the Emancipation Proclamation with a small group of African American seniors, their grandchildren and some children from the Washington, D.C. area, in the Oval Office, Jan. 18, 2010. This copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, which is on loan from the Smithsonian Museum of American History, was hung on the wall of the Oval Office today and will be exhibited for six months, before being moved to the Lincoln Bedroom where the original Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

  • Freedom singer delivers civil-rights lessons in Seattle: Freedom singer Bernice Johnson Reagon was the featured speaker at a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. In a speech at Mount Zion that was part history lesson, part performance and part message about nonviolence, Reagon, a cultural historian and civil-rights activist, spoke about the era when she established herself as a freedom singer…. – Seatle Times, 1-15-10
  • Peniel E. Joseph “Many say U.S. race relations have improved under Obama, but divides remain”: “Light-skinned is equated with good, an ability to pass, to fit in the mainstream,” said Peniel E. Joseph, a Tufts University historian and author of a new book about the shifting racial attitudes that allowed for Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president. “He’s light enough and mainstream enough to appeal to a broad audience. Those who are not really stand out in a conspicuous way as ‘the other.'”… – WaPo, 1-12-10
  • Peniel E. Joseph, From ‘Dark Days’ to ‘Bright Nights,’ Reexamining the Civil Rights Era: Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama – Well, it’s a phrase coming out of the 1960s and really coming out of the civil rights era. Stokely Carmichael was a civil rights activist who first used the term in Greenwood, Mississippi, on June 16, 1966. And for Carmichael, he really was referring to political self-determination. He felt that black people needed political, social, economic self-determination if they were going to really exercise their democratic rights in the country.
    As soon as Carmichael says it, it becomes a racial controversy. It becomes a national controversy. It’s going to be perceived as fomenting violence, as anti-white, as really the opposite of civil rights and Dr. King’s dream of a beloved community.
    Well, Carmichael was really one of the few civil rights activists who becomes a black power militant. So, Carmichael had been a grassroots organizer in Mississippi and Alabama. And for him, black power meant actually exercising the voting rights and exercising the citizenship rights that he had struggled to organize, along with many other civil rights activists, during the first half of the 1960s. So, it meant black elected officials. It meant black political leaders, but it also meant community control of schools. It meant a different definition of black identity. Before this period, African- Americans were really called Negroes or referred to as people of color. It’s after the black power period that they’re referred to as black or Afro-American, and, by the 1980s, African-American.
    When we think about our civil rights history and the history of the 1960s and ’70s, in a way, we flatten that story to a story about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, the Voting Rights Act, and the “I Have a Dream” speech.
    People like Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael added their voices to that period of time. And they were really voices of trying to transform American democracy, but in militant and, at times, combative ways…. – PBS Newhour, 1-18-10

The First Lady at So Others Might Eat on Martin Luther King Day

History Buzz January 11-17, 2010: John Heilemann & Mark Halperin’s “Game Change”

HISTORY BUZZ:

Support the Earthquake Recovery Efforts in Haiti: clintonbushhaitifund.org/

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY:

HISTORY NEWS:

  • Moynihan Letters to Be Published: Letters, journals and other correspondence written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan over the course of his half-century career in public service will be published in a coming book.
    On Wednesday, PublicAffairs said it would release a book culled from more than 10,000 pages of letters written by Mr. Moynihan, the former senator from New York, during his time on Capitol Hill and in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. NYT, 1-13-10
  • King papers have reach beyond library walls: In the years since the city of Atlanta acquired more than 10,000 of Dr. Martin Luther King’s personal papers, the collection has been pored over by researchers and used in groundbreaking history courses at Morehouse College. Come February, the writings of Dr. King will be fully available to the public at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1-15-10
  • Egypt unveils more proof that Jews did not build pyramids: Egypt displayed this week newly discovered tombs more than 4,000 years old and said they belonged to people who worked on the Great Pyramids of Giza, presenting the discovery as more evidence that slaves did not build the ancient monuments. The discovery further erodes the myth that Jewish slaves built the pyramids, officials in Egypt said…. – AP, 1-14-10
  • Same-Sex Marriage Case Arguments at Court: Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, unfolded this week in a federal courtroom in San Francisco…. The plaintiffs, represented by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, sought to prove that opponents of same-sex marriage were motivated by discriminatory animus when they backed the proposition. Defense lawyers sought to blunt efforts to frame this as a civil rights case…. – NYT, 1-15-10
  • Is Google Good for History?: At a discussion of “Is Google Good for History?” here Thursday, there weren’t really any firm “No” answers. Even the harshest critic here of Google’s historic book digitization project confessed to using it for his research and making valuable finds with the tool…. – Inside Higher Ed, 1-8-10

OP-EDs:

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Sports and political oversight do mix: When baseball slugger Mark McGwire admitted he had used steroids in his record-breaking 1998 season, he recalled refusing to talk about the subject in his 2005 testimony to Congress….
    McGwire’s admission come as the House Judiciary Committee has been investigating the problem of brain injuries to football players, following heated discussions October 28, when the committee aggressively questioned NFL officials to figure out why the league had done so little to curb this well-known problem….
    The government must help guide the industry toward better practices. There is a precedent for investigation. And sports has depended too much on government to now claim to be a free agent. – CNN, 1-16-10
  • AMNON RUBINSTEIN: Guest Columnist: Judt unpicks Israel’s Jewishness: The drawing is as important as the article itself: Tony Judt – an illustrious NYU historian – has written an article entitled “Israel must unpick its ethnic myth” (Financial Times, December 7). Illustrating the article is a drawing depicting an Israeli flag whose Star of David is being removed. Prof. Judt’s argument is simple:Israel must rid itself of its Jewishness…. – Jerusalem Post, 1-14-10
  • Alan Brinkly: Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Franklin Delano Roosevelt may be the most chronicled man of the twentieth century. He led the United States through the worst economic crisis in the life of the nation and through the greatest and most terrible war in human history. His extraordinary legacy, compiled during dark and dangerous years, remains alive in our own, troubled new century as an inspiring and creative model to many, and as a symbol of excessive government power to many others…. – OUP Blog, 1-12-10

REVIEWS & FIRST CHAPTERS:

  • POLITICS Book review of ‘Game Change’ by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin: GAME CHANGE Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime – WaPo, 1-17-10
  • John Heilemann and Mark Halperin: Election Confidential GAME CHANGE Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a LifetimeNYT, 1-14-10
  • BOOK REVIEW ‘Game Change’ by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin: The political journalists provide juicy insider tidbits about the 2008 presidential candidates, their spouses and other players, but it’s hard to see the enlightenment behind the entertainment…. “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime”LAT, 1-13-10
  • Cultural Studies Elizabeth Edwards Teeters on Her Pedestal: GAME CHANGE Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a LifetimeNYT, 1-15-10
  • Harold Holzer: Bookshelf, Lincoln, Medicine and the Depression Of Mutual Influence: The City and the 16th President: Lincoln and New YorkNYT, 1-15-10
  • Elizabeth Partridge: Children’s Books Children Who Changed the World MARCHING FOR FREEDOM Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow WearyNYT, 1-15-10
  • Stephen Kotkin with a contribution by Jan T. Gross: Bonfire of the Bureaucrats UNCIVIL SOCIETY 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist EstablishmentNYT, 1-14-10
  • Seth Lipsky, Jack N. Rakove: More Perfect: THE CITIZEN’S CONSTITUTION An Annotated Guide, THE ANNOTATED U.S. CONSTITUTION AND DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – “The Citizen’s Constitution” is a magpie’s miscellany of curiosities. It is governed by a newspaperman’s sensibility, one more interested in conflict and color than order and synthesis…. Jack N. Rakove takes a more serious and dutiful approach in “The Annotated U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.” – NYT, 1-8-10
  • Jenny Uglow: Return of the King A GAMBLING MAN Charles II’s Restoration Game Uglow has, it seems, recast Charles’s restoration as a fable for our times. She sets the scene this way: “A young, charismatic man is called to power, greeted in his capital by vast cheering crowds. But what happens when the fireworks fade and the euphoria cools? Can he unite the divided nation, or will he be defeated by vested interests, entrenched institutions and long-held prejudices?” – NYT, 1-8-10
  • Michael D. Gordin: Nuclear Monopolist: RED CLOUD AT DAWN Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly Gordin’s “Red Cloud at Dawn” is about the brief period between August 1945 and August 1949, between Hiroshima and Kazakhstan, when the United States held a nuclear monopoly. It’s about how the Soviets caught up and how America learned that that happy hour was ending a lot sooner than expected… – NYT, 1-15-10
  • Jack Rakove on John Yoo: Book review of John Yoo’s ‘Crisis and Command': CRISIS AND COMMAND A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush Yoo’s account has a deceptively simple theme: At critical moments, the decisive exercise of power by the president has been the driving force in American history, and neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has ever rivaled the presidency in its capacity to direct how the nation responds to unexpected challenges to its essential interests. Efforts to devise new ways to cabin our presidents — the best as well as the mediocre and mendacious, such as Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon — risk restraining exactly the kind of initiative we want the executive to mount… – WaPo, 1-8-10
  • Gary Gallagher on John Keegan: HISTORY Book review: THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR A Military History Unfortunately, “The American Civil War” fails to provide anything particularly new. The structure is straightforward: The first six chapters address the background of the war, the challenges of raising and provisioning armies, the risks of a soldier’s life and the importance of geography; the next nine present a chronological narrative of campaigns by the major armies; and the final eight return to a topical format that examines, among other things, African American military participation, the naval war, the home fronts, medical care, generalship and the experience of battle. – WaPo, 1-8-10
  • Leslie Holmes, Stephen Lovell, Gil Troy: COMMUNISM: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION, THE SOVIET UNION: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION, THE REAGAN REVOLUTION: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION – …Mr. Troy does a good job showing the part Ronald Reagan’s statesmanship played in hastening communism’s end in the Soviet Union and its satellite states. President Reagan’s religious upbringing and his reading of free-market economists played a role, as did his anti-communist credentials. He knew that communism had gotten human nature dead wrong and that a command economy couldn’t work; thus he knew where the Soviet Union was vulnerable…. – Washington Times, 1-14-10
  • John Yoo: A Brief For Bush: Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush And the idea behind his latest book, Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power From George Washington to George W. Bush, is simple: throughout American history, crisis has inspired constitutional daring, and the race to presidential greatness goes not to the leader who hews most faithfully to the constitutional text but to the one most willing to bend the document to meet the perceived demands of the day. – The American Conservative, 2-1-10

FEATURES:

  • Forging The Past: OUP And The ‘Armenian Question': Donald Bloxham’s The Great Game of Genocide. Imperialism, Nationalism and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians.
    The book includes nine photographs printed on glossy paper. Eight of the photographs are credited. One is not. It shows a man in an unbuttoned jacket and tie standing in front of a circle of ragged children and one apparent adult with something in his hand. The caption reads: ‘A Turkish official taunting starving Armenians with bread’. Even a cursory glance is enough to show there is something wrong with this photo….. – History of Truth, 1-15-10
  • Fallou Ngom: The lost script: It’s a writing system called Ajami, it’s a thousand years old, and a Boston University professor thinks it could help unlock the story of a continent… – Boston Globe, 1-10-10
  • Historians, Sons, Daughters: In what appeared to be a pattern on a panel of historian parents and their historian offspring at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, it turns out that the way you rebel against an American historian parent is to become a medievalist…. – Inside Higher Ed, 1-12-10
  • Denis Smyth, Historian claims to have finally identified wartime ‘Man Who Never Was': A historian claims to have conclusively proved the identity of the “Man Who Never Was”, whose body was used in a spectacular plot to deceive the Germans over the invasion of Sicily in the Second World War…
    Professor Denis Smyth, a historian at Toronto University, whose book Operation Mincemeat: Death, Deception and the Mediterranean D-Day is due to be published later this year, believes he has now finally laid to rest such “conspiracy theories”….. – Telegraph, UK, 1-3-10

QUOTES:

  • Donald Ritchie “Depression-era star muckraker shapes Wall Street inquiry”: “Pecora’s revelations enraged the public and stampeded Congress into creating the SEC and separating commercial banks from investment banks. “In many ways it was one of the most productive congressional hearings, because it led to so many laws being passed,” says Senate historian Donald Ritchie. – USA Today, 1-12-10

INTERVIEWS:

  • David C. Engerman ‘Know Your Enemy': There was a time, improbable though it may now seem, when it was not considered inherently dubious for academics to work with or for the government. For several decades in the mid-20th century, Soviet studies — a field born of America’s post-World War II desire to understand its ally-turned-enemy — enjoyed a wealth of government funding and scholarly attention. In a new book, Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America’s Soviet Experts, David C. Engerman, associate professor of history at Brandeis University explains how Soviet Studies rose so rapidly, and why its decline began well before the fall of the Soviet Union…. – Inside Higher Ed, 1-8-10

AWARDS & APPOINTMENTS:

  • Annete Gordon-Reed, Beryl Satter: For Faculty Authors At Rutgers University, Newark, 2009 Was A Very Good Year For Awards, Recognition: Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, “Best Books” Lists Among Honors – Rutgers News, 1-5-10

SPOTTED:

  • Richard Etulain: Professor presents new angle on author’s life and works about the West: Richard Etulain speaks at Columbia Forum about writer Wallace Stegner – Daily Astorian, 1-12-10
  • Freedom singer delivers civil-rights lessons in Seattle: Freedom singer Bernice Johnson Reagon was the featured speaker at a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. In a speech at Mount Zion that was part history lesson, part performance and part message about nonviolence, Reagon, a cultural historian and civil-rights activist, spoke about the era when she established herself as a freedom singer…. – Seatle Times, 1-15-10

ON TV:

BEST SELLERS (NYT):

BOOKS COMING SOON:

  • Alison Weir: The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn, January 5, 2010
  • Charles Pellegrino: The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back (Hardcover), January 19, 2010
  • Catherine Clinton: Mrs. Lincoln: A Life (Reprint) (Paperback) January 19, 2010
  • Andrew Young: The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down (Hardcover) Feb 2, 2010
  • Charles Lachman: The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family (Paperback), February 2, 2010
  • S. M. Plokhy: Yalta: The Price of Peace (Hardcover), February 4, 2010
  • Richard Beeman: Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (Paperback), February 9, 2010
  • Philip Dray: Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen (Paperback) February 11, 2010
  • Ken Gormley: The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr (Hardcover), February 16, 2010
  • Susan Wise Bauer: The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade, (Hardcover) February 22, 2010
  • Richard J. Evans: The Third Reich at War (Paperback) February 23, 2010
  • Seth G. Jones: In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan (Paperback) April 12, 2010

DEPARTED:

  • Charles Stuart McGehee: Prominent West Virginia historian dies: The founder of one of West Virginia’s most comprehensive archives on the state’s coal history, Charles Stuart McGehee, died earlier this week. McGehee, 55, was the founder of Bluefield’s Eastern Regional Coal Archives, a professor of history at West Virginia State University, and the author of five books on West Virginia. He died Tuesday…. – WV Gazette, 1-14-10
  • Ihor Sevcenko, 87; professor, scholar of Byzantine era: Ihor Sevcenko taught at Harvard University for two decades… – Boston Globe, 1-11-10

Democratic Convention Day 4: August 28, 2008

Day 4 Schedule

Thursday, August 28: Change You Can Believe In

On Thursday night, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can be a part of the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination. Obama will communicate the urgency of the moment, highlight the struggles Americans are facing and call on Americans to come together to change the course of our nation.

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. will address the Convention on Thursday night. – DemConvention.com

Highlights:

  • August 28, 2008: Barack Obama to woo nation 45 years after Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech … Biden tells Democratic convention needs more than a good soldier, reference to McCain … Clinton delivers strong endorsement for Obama while passing torch. – AP, 8-28-08Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Denver to help provide counterattacks against the Democratic Party convention, canceled participation in a news conference and other appearances, a Republican official said. – Reuters, 8-28-08
The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowds cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

The Bidens and Obamas receive the crowd’s cheers Thursday at the end of the Democratic National Convention. (USA Today)

Stats & In the News…

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

Martin Luther King Jr. on the Mall in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. (NYT)

  • Years Later, Lewis Watches History Being Made – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Obama Readies for Historic Speech; From MLK ‘I Have a Dream’ to ‘Yes We Can’ First Black Major Party Nominee Speaks on Martin Luther King March Anniversary – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Democrats Becoming Obama’s Party – WaPo, 8-28-08
  • Glenn Beck: Commentary: Keeping my distance from the Democrats – CNN, 8-28-08
  • August 27, 2008: Exclusive Poll: Obama’s Swing Leads An exclusive TIME/CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll reveals that Barack Obama leads John McCain by several percentage points in three crucial battleground states—Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania—while McCain tops Obama by 1% in Colorado. – Time, 8-27-08

Historians’ Comments

  • PENIEL JOSEPH, Brandeis University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: Well, a truly historic night, one whose symbolic power is going to reverberate around the nation. Barack Obama has really catapulted America into its 21st-century multi-cultural future, really whether Americans are ready for that or not. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on “Barack Obama’s Historic, unconventional speech”: You know, I think the lack of a balloon drop wasn’t the only unconventional thing about this speech. I think it was a remarkable speech for one thing, I think, in some ways, it sacrificed eloquence of the conventional variety for electability. This was someone who, as Judy has said, was putting meat on the bones, defining what change means to people sitting around the kitchen table, but also he talked about eliminating obsolescent government programs, as well as closing corporate loopholes. Over and over, he talked about the search for common ground on issues that have been so divisive — abortion, gun control, gay rights — and implicit in all that is the search for a more civil, more workable, if you will, kind of government. It’s going to be very difficult, it seems to me, for people to pin him with the label of conventional liberal or maybe conventional Democrat. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian Yep. You know, Jim, we were talking earlier about John Kennedy’s amazing acceptance speech in 1960. I listened to Barack Obama tonight; I think this one was better. He told you exactly what he’s going to do, point by point, told you who he is, and also didn’t do the cheap thing, trying to sort of make himself into something he’s not. This line where he said, “I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office, I don’t fit the typical pedigree,” 9 out of 10 politicians wouldn’t have done — 9 out of 10 would not have done that. It gives you a sense of who this man is. I think it’s going to be a very powerful help with his campaign. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph: A Historic Night Analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks and historians Michael Beschloss, Richard Norton Smith and Peniel Joseph offer thoughts on the closing night of the DNC. – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08, Download
  • Ted Widmer on Obama’s Oratory Skills: “He is blessed with a richly resonant voice that we love to hear; he could read the telephone directory and it would sound good,” said Ted Widmer, editor of an acclaimed edition of American political speeches and a former Bill Clinton speechwriter. “He is very good at pauses and inflection, and he cuts an impressive figure on stage – all of which adds up to making an Obama speech a special event.” – Guardian UK, 8-28-08
  • Michael Beschloss on “Panel says Chicago forged Obama’s political skill”: Michael Beschloss, a leading presidential historian, noted that previous presidents have come on varying paths to the White House. “If you go through presidents and look what made the great ones, probably a length of time in the United States Congress doesn’t help too much; same with governorships,” he said. – Denver Post, 8-28-08
  • Andrew Bacevich: Obama’s Limits: An Interview With Andrew Bacevich – …”Jimmy Carter, his famous ‘malaise’ speech in 1979 was enormously prescient in warning about the consequences of ever-increasing debt and dependency. Carter’s argument was that energy independence provided a vehicle for us to assert control of our destiny, and to reassess what we meant by freedom: is it something more than simply consumerism? But that speech was greeted with howls of derision. Ronald Reagan said we could have anything we wanted. There were no limits. Then we the people rejected Carter’s warning and embraced Reagan’s promise of never-ending abundance. That was a fateful choice. “That’s the language of American politics, for both the mainstream left and the mainstream right. But that idea is not really sustainable when we look at the facts.” – The Nation, 8-28-08
  • Timuel Black on “Chicago area residents clear schedules to watch”: Chicago area historian Timuel Black was in Washington DC 45 years ago when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the height of the civil rights movement. Black said the emotion was overwhelming, and the 89-year-old said he expected to be emotional again Thursday night while witnessing King’s words come true. “Forty-five years later, Barack Obama epitomizes what Dr. King was dreaming of; that one can move from the bottom of the ladder to the top of the ladder,” Black said. – ABC News, 8-28-08
  • Robert Caro: Johnson’s Dream, Obama’s Speech – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: Penial Joseph picked Bill Clinton’s 1992 address in New York when he argued that the party needed a “new covenant” with America: “What Clinton offers in 1992 in terms of rhetorical eloquence and political genius is this notion that the Democratic Party can still help poor people but it’s going to have to do this on a much smaller scale,” Joseph said. “He talks about we need a leaner government and not a meaner government.” PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Peniel Joseph, Richard Norton Smith on “Stevenson’s 1952, Clinton’s 1992 Speeches Among Historian Favorites”: For Richard Norton Smith, Adlai Stevenson set the gold standard for Democratic convention speeches with his 1952 speech in Chicago. After delivering a well-received welcoming speech, Stevenson was selected as the party’s presidential candidate two days later. It is that acceptance speech that Norton Smith said electrified millions of Americans listening to their radios back home: “He used words in a way that no one had heard before. There was an urbanity, there was a wit, there was a sense of the ridiculous about the political process. And it was all about challenging the American people. Stevenson said, “better lose an election than mislead the American people.” Norton Smith said. “Stevenson raised the bar.” – PBS NewsHour, 8-28-08
  • Douglas Brinkley on “Decades Later, John Kennedy’s ‘New Frontier’ Speech Echoes”: “The Obama campaign has been purposely modeling its acceptance speech after J.F.K. in 1960,” said Douglas Brinkley, the presidential historian, “and we’ll soon see whether the content on Thursday is another nod to Camelot.” – NYT, 8-28-08
  • Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK’s 1960 move – USA Today, 8-27-08
  • MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, Presidential Historian on “Bill Clinton had key moment”: I sure do, Jim. This was a great, big night for the Democrats and a huge help to this ticket. Bill Clinton gave one of his best speeches, including the seven words that Hillary Clinton did not quite speak last night. He said, “Barack Obama is ready to be president.” That’s going to be a great help to those who are going to cite Hillary’s words from earlier in the primary campaign against her. You also saw one of the reasons why Joe Biden is on this ticket. You know, vice presidents, like Hubert Humphrey in 1964, that convention, went after Barry Goldwater. Fritz Mondale, whom you interviewed earlier this evening, Jim, in 1976, brought the house down at the Carter convention by saying, “We’ve had the worst scandal in our history, Watergate, and this nominee, Gerald Ford, pardoned the guy who did it.”And, of course, Al Gore in 1992, “What time is it? It’s time for them to go.” And the interesting thing, finally, Jim, is that Joe Biden showed sort of an ironic and interesting sense of history, because when he kept on saying, “Do you want change or more of the same?”, who’s slogan was that? It was Bill Clinton’s in 1992. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download
  • RICHARD NORTON SMITH, George Mason University on Joe Biden: Well, it’s funny. Like Michael, I saw the ghost of Hubert Humphrey in this hall tonight, you know? We’ve heard this week from Kennedy Democrats, and Clinton Democrats, and Obama Democrats, and tonight was Hubert’s night. I mean, this was one-part classic populism and one-part the politics of joy. But it was also something else. It was very interesting. This was a values speech. This was a character speech. And it does indicate that this is a party that is going to go after values voters, with which they have not always been terribly successful in some recent elections. That, in itself, it seems to me makes it significant. And it also really, I think, ups the ante for Senator McCain who has, I guess, about two days in which to decide who he wants to pit in that vice presidential debate against the man we heard tonight. – PBS Newshour, 8-27-08 Download

The Speeches….

  • Hillary Clinton’s Statement: Barack Obama’s speech tonight laid out his specific, bold solutions and optimistic vision for our nation and our children’s future.His speech crystallized the clear choice between he and Senator McCain. Four more years of the same failed policies or a leader who can tackle the great challenges we face: revitalizing our economy and restoring our standing in the world. I am proud to support Senator Obama, our next President of the United States and Joe Biden, our next Vice President of the United States.
  • Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech:To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation.With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.
    Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in front of 80,000 people Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (Photo: Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

    Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest — a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Bill Clinton, who made last night the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

    To the love of my life, our next first lady, Michelle Obama, and to Malia and Sasha — I love you so much, and I’m so proud of you.

    Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story — of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

    It is that promise that has always set this country apart — that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

    That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women — students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive….

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Barack Obama greets the crowd at the Democratic National Convention. (CNN)

    Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land — enough! This moment — this election — is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”…

    But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time. Sen. McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives — on health care and education and the economy — Sen. McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers — the man who wrote his economic plan — was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

    A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud autoworkers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and they give back and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

    Now, I don’t believe that Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

    It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it….

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Partys nomination for President (CNN)

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for President (CNN)

    Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

    What is that American promise?

    It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

    It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

    Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves — protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and science and technology.

    Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

    That’s the promise of America — the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

    That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

    Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

    America, now is not the time for small plans.

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination

    Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

    Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

    Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

    Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

    And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons….

    For while Sen. McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

    And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

    That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

    You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice — but that is not the change that America needs.

    We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans — have built, and we are here to restore that legacy….

    But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.

    The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America — they have served the United States of America.

    So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

    America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose. That’s what we have to restore.

    We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America’s promise — the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

    I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

    You make a big election about small things…

    I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

    But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s about you. It’s about you.

    For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us — that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it — because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

    America, this is one of those moments.

    I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it….

    You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

    Instead, it is that American spirit — that American promise — that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

    That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours — a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

    And it is that promise that 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

    The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

    But what the people heard instead — people of every creed and color, from every walk of life — is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

    “We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver.  (NYT)

    Senator Barack Obama accepted the presidential nomination on Thursday night in Denver. (NYT)

    America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise — that American promise — and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

    Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

  • McCain to extend his congratulations to Obama in special ad“Senator Obama, this is truly a good day for America. Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day.” McCain also says in reference to the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘ I Have a Dream’ speech. “Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.”
  • Al Gore’s Convention Speech :The question facing us simply put is: Will we seize this opportunity for a change?That’s why I came here tonight to tell you why I feel so strongly that we must seize this opportunity to elect Barack Obama president of the United States of America.
    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama.  (CNN)

    Al Gore invoked his failed bid for the White House Thursday as he encouraged voters to choose Obama. (CNN)

    Eight years ago, some said there was not much difference between the nominees of the two major parties and it didn’t really matter who became president. Our nation was enjoying peace and prosperity, and some assumed we would continue with both, no matter the outcome.

    But here we all are in 2008, and I doubt anyone would argue now that election didn’t matter.

    Take it from me. If it had ended differently, we would not be bogged down in Iraq; we would have pursued bin Laden until we captured him.

    We wouldn’t be facing a self-inflicted economic crisis; we’d be fighting for middle-income families.
    We would not be showing contempt for the Constitution; we’d be protecting the rights of every American regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation.

    And we would not be denying the climate crisis; we’d be solving the climate crisis.

    Today, we face essentially the same choice we faced in 2000, though it may be even more obvious now, because John McCain, a man who has earned our respect on many levels, is now openly endorsing the policies of the Bush-Cheney White House and promising to actually continue them.

    The same policies, those policies, all over again? Hey, I believe in recycling, but that’s ridiculous….

    Military experts warn us our national security is threatened by massive waves of climate refugees destabilizing countries around the world. And scientists tell us the very web of life is endangered by unprecedented extinctions.

    We are facing a planetary emergency, which, if not solved, would exceed anything we’ve ever experienced in the history of humankind.

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowds applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledges the crowd’s applause before his speech at the Democratic National Convention at Invesco Field on Wednesday evening. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

    In spite of John McCain’s past record of open-mindedness and leadership on the climate crisis, he has now apparently allowed his party to browbeat him into abandoning his support of mandatory caps on global warming pollution. And it just so happens that the climate crisis is intertwined with the other two great challenges facing our nation: reviving our economy and strengthening our national security. The solutions to all three require us to end our dependence on carbon-based fuels.

    Instead of letting lobbyists and polluters control our destiny, we need to invest in American innovation. Almost a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison, our most famous inventor, said, quote, “I would put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power,” he continued. “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

    Well, now, in 2008, we have everything we need to start using the sun, the wind, geothermal power, conservation, and efficiency to solve the climate crisis, everything, that is, except a president in the White House who inspires us to believe, “Yes, we can.”

    And we know how to fix that….

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

    Al Gore addressing the Democratic National Convention

     

    So what can we do about it? We can carry Barack Obama’s message of hope and change to every family in America and pledge that we’ll be there for him, not only in the heat of this election, but in the aftermath, as we put his agenda to work for our country.

    We can tell Republicans and independents, as well as Democrats, exactly why our nation so badly needs a change from the approach of Bush, Cheney and McCain.

    After they wrecked our economy, it’s time for a change. After they abandoned the search for the terrorists who attacked us and redeployed the troops to invade a nation that did not attack us, it’s time for a change.

    After they abandoned the principle first laid down by General George Washington, when he prohibited the torture of captives because it would bring, in his words, “shame, disgrace and ruin” to our nation, it’s time for a change.

    When as many as three Supreme Court justices could be appointed in the first term of the next president, and John McCain promises to appoint more Scalias and Thomases and end a woman’s right to choose, it is time for a change….

    In 2008, once again, we find ourselves at the end of an era with a mandate from history to launch another new beginning. And once again, we have a candidate whose experience perfectly matches an extraordinary moment of transition.

    Barack Obama had the experience and wisdom to oppose a popular war based on faulty premises.

    His leadership experience has given him a unique capacity to inspire hope in the promise of the American dream of a boundless future.

    His experience has also given him genuine respect for different views and humility in the face of complex realities that cannot be squeezed into the narrow compartments of ideology.

    His experience has taught him something that career politicians often overlook: that inconvenient truths must be acknowledged if we are to have wise governance.

    And the extraordinary strength of his personal character — and that of his wonderful wife, Michelle — who gave such a magnificent address and will be such a wonderful first lady for our country — their strength of character is grounded in the strengths of the American community.

    Barack Obama’s vision and his voice represent the best of America. His life experience embodies the essence of our motto, “E pluribus unum (NYSE:UNM),” out of many, one. That is the linking identity at the other end of all the hyphens that pervade our modern political culture.

    It is that common American identity which Barack Obama exemplifies, heart and soul, that enables us as Americans to speak with moral authority to all of the peoples of the world, to inspire hope that we as human beings can transcend our limitations to redeem the promise of human freedom.

    Late this evening, our convention will end with a benediction. As we bow in reverence, remember the words of the old proverb, “When you pray, move your feet.” And then let us leave here tonight and take that message of hope from Denver to every corner of our land, and do everything we can to serve our nation, our world, and our children and their future, by electing Barack Obama president of the United States of America.

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson:Is anyone here going to miss Dick Cheney? … John McCain is the first candidate in history who thinks he can win by telling voters they are not thinking for themselves….Fellow citizens, I am not known as a quiet man. But I hope you will allow me, for a moment, to bring quiet to this great hall. Because at a time when young men and women are dying for our country overseas, America faces a question worthy of silent reflection. And the American people are watching to see how we answer it. What is the best measure of a person’s capacity to protect this country? There are often moments of great importance that go unnoticed in the unruly course of history….
    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ran for Democratic presidential candidate before endorsing Obama. (CNN)

    And ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe it’s time to finish the job and get bin Laden. We don’t need another four years of more of the same. It’s time for the change America needs. This is the judgment and vision of Barack Obama. This is the preparation he has to be President of the United States. And this is the man we need to return our country into the goodwill of other nations and the grace of history.

  • DNC Chairman Howard Dean:But we had hope. A plan: “Show up.” We knew if we knocked on doors and told people what we believe, they would respect us and vote for us. That’s exactly what you did. And because you did, today, our party competes in all 50 states. Today, we are a party that took back Congressional seats in Louisiana and Mississippi, and we’re gonna win in Virginia and Alaska. Today, ours is a party that had 35 million Americans vote in our primaries. Today, our party knows that power grows from the grassroots up….I know exactly how many houses I own. … John McCain is a yes man.
  • Virginia Gov. Tim KaineWhat an honor to be here on this powerful night! What an honor to speak not just to those gathered here in Denver but to homes across America-and not just those owned by John McCain.Looking out at this crowd and feeling the energy, I can tell you this: We are making history.I am here tonight not just as the governor of Virginia who knows the people of my state need a better partner in White House, not just as a Democrat who is tired of politics as usual, but most importantly as an American who wants to see American values guiding our country again.

    For eight years we’ve seen what happens when a president lets Washington values become more important than American values. Gas prices skyrocket when the White House lets oil companies call the shots. Our children are left behind when an administration cares more about sound bites than sound schools. And middle-class families are left to fend for themselves to save their jobs, their homes, and their grasp on the American dream.

    Maybe for John McCain the American dream means seven houses-and if that’s your America, John McCain is your candidate. But for the rest of us, the American dream means one home-in a safe neighborhood, with good schools and good health care and a little money left over every month to go out for dinner and save for the future.

    Does that seem like too much to ask? John McCain thinks it is.

    He’ll keep answering to the special interests and Washington lobbyists-we’re ready for leadership that answers to us. And the leader who will deliver the change we need is Barack Obama….

    If we put our faith into action, we can move mountains.

    We can move the mountains of negativity and division and gridlock.

    We can move the mountains of special interests and business as usual.

    We can move the mountains of hopelessness that surround too many of our people and communities.

    Does anybody here have a little faith tonight? Is anybody here ready to move those mountains?

    Starting right here in the Mile High City, we will put our faith into action; we will reject the failed policies of George Bush and John McCain; we will elect Barack Obama our next president.

    In the words of the gospel hymn-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me-“move mountain.”

    Say it with me again-“move mountain.”

    Mountain, get out of our way!

  • Luis Gutierrez, Congressman from Illinois:When Martin Luther King saw people facing injustice, he did not wait for others to act — he changed the way we treat each other. If you want change, it is time for Latinos, and for immigrants to rally behind the next president of the United States, Barack Obama.
  • Mark Udall, a Senate candidate from ColoradoIt’s fitting that the change we need in Washington starts here in the Rocky Mountain West. In the spirit of the West, we can move forward, but it’s going to take leaders who are strong enough to stand up for what’s right, bold enough to bring new ideas and sweep away the worst of Washington’s old ways. Leaders like Barack Obama.
  • Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.:I was there that day when Dr. King delivered his historic speech before an audience of more than 250,000. I am the last remaining speaker from the March on Washington, and I was there
    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obamas nomination was a down payment on Martin Luther King Jr.s dream. (CNN)

    Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Obama’s nomination was a “down payment” on Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. (CNN)

    when Dr. King urged this nation to lay down the burden of discrimination and segregation and move toward the creation of a more perfect union….We’ve come a long way, but we still have a distance to go. We’ve come a long way, but we must march again. On November 4th, we must march in every state, in every city, in every village, in every hamlet; we must march to the ballot box. We must march like we have never marched before to elect the next President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama.

    For those of us who stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or who in the years that followed may have lost hope, this moment is a testament to the power and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. It is a testament to the ability of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. It is a testament to the promise of America.

    Tonight, we have put together a tribute to the man and his message. Let us take a moment to reflect on the legacy and the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. on this 45th anniversary of the historic march on Washington.

  • Martin Luther King’s son, Martin Luther King III, echoed those sentiments and described “the majesty” of his father’s dream:On this day, exactly 45 years ago, my father stood on the National Mall in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed, ‘I have a dream that one day, this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ Let us give our nation a leader who has heard this clarion call and will help us achieve the change.
Celebration after Barack Obamas acceptance speech (CNN)

Celebration after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech (CNN)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver.  (NYT)

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, with Senator Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, faced a crowd of nearly 80,000 people on Thursday night at Invesco Field in Denver. (NYT)

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