Thursday, April 26, 2018

9.4 Study Guide Post

Your finals are on June 5th from 10:00-2:00.  You may prepare one sheet of handwritten notes to use during the test. The final exam will give you an opportunity to show your mastery of skills that you have been practicing throughout the semester. Use this forum toY study with your classmates. Review our discussion board posts. Each weekly post was intended to help you practice the skills listed on your study guide.  Complete and turn-in the attached study guide for up to 10 extra credit point the day of testing. The following are some key areas that you can expect to see on the exam

Directions: Review the study guide. Choose a chapter listed below. Select 3 sections from the chapter. Explain the 3 sections and post on the discussion board. Comment on another student's post. 


Chapter 14 – The Great Depression Begins
Section 1
Describe the causes of the stock market crash and the Great Depression.
Explain how the Great Depression affected the economy in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Section 2
Describe the effect of the Great Depression on people’s lives, including the effects of the Dust Bowl.
Section 3
Explain Hoover’s initial response to the Depression.
Summarize the actions Hoover took to help the economy and the hardship suffered by Americans.

Chapter 15 – The New Deal
Section 1
Summarize the initial steps Roosevelt took to reform banking and finance.
Describe New Deal work programs.
Describe the reaction of the Supreme Court to New Deal programs and how Roosevelt proposed to reorganize the Supreme Court.
Section 2
Describe the purpose of the Second New Deal.
Summarize the New Deal programs for farmers, youths and workers.
Section 3
Describe the New Deal coalition.
Section 4
Describe the entertainment provided by motion pictures and radio.
Section 5
Summarize the legacies of the New Deal.

Chapter 16 – World War Looms
Section 1
Describe America’s turn to isolationism in the 1930’s.
Section 2
Explain how Britain and France responded to Hitler’s expansions.
Summarize the first battles of World War II.
Section 3
Summarize the Nazi’s persecution of the Jews and their “final solution.”
Section 4
Describe the U.S. response to the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939.
Explain how Roosevelt assisted the Allies without declaring war.
Summarize the events that brought the U.S. into armed contact with Germany.
Describe the American response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Chapter 17 – The United States in World War II
Section 1
Explain how the U.S. expanded its armed forces and wartime production.
Summarize the efforts of the U.S. government to control the economy.
Section 2
Summarize the Allies’ plan for winning the war.
Explain the importance of D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.
Section 3
Identify key turning points in the war of the Pacific.
Explain the development of the atomic bomb and debates about its use.
Describe the challenges faced by the Allies in rebuilding peace.
Section 4
Describe the economic and social changes that reshaped American life during World War II.
Describe the discrimination that minorities faced and the internment of Japanese Americans.

Chapter 18 – Cold War Conflicts
Section 1
Explain the growing tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union after World War II.
Explain the goals of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.
Describe the conflicts over Germany.
Section 2
Explain the U.S. reaction to China becoming a communist country.
Summarize the events of the Korean War.
Section 3
Describe efforts to investigate the loyalty of U.S. citizens, and the tactics of Joseph McCarthy.
Summarize the spy cases of Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs.
Section 4
Explain the policy of brinkmanship.
Describe American and Soviet actions that caused the Cold War to spread around the world.
Summarize the impact of Sputnik and the U-2 incident on the United States.

Chapter 19 – The Postwar Boom
Section 1
Identify economic and social problems Americans faced after World War II.
Describe Truman’s support for civil rights.
Contrast domestic policies of Truman and Eisenhower.
Section 2
Explain how changes in business affected workers.
Describe the suburban lifestyle of the 1950s.
Identify causes and effects of the boom in the automobile industry.
Explain the increase in consumerism in the 1950s.
Section 3
Explain the effects of the growth of television.
Section 4
Explain how the white migration to the suburbs created an urban crisis.

Chapter 20 – The New Frontier and the Great Society
Section 1
Describe the new military policy of the Kennedy administration.
Summarize the crises that developed over Cuba.
Summarize the crisis over Berlin.
Section 2
Summarize the New Frontier domestic and foreign agendas.
Describe the chain of events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination.
Section 3
Summarize the goals of Johnson’s Great Society, including the Immigration Act of 1965.
Identify the reforms of the Warren Court.
Summarize the impact of the Great Society.

Chapter 21 – Civil Rights
Section 1
Explain how legalized segregation deprived African Americans of their rights as citizens.
Summarize civil rights legal activity and the response to the Plessy v Ferguson andBrown v. Board of Education cases.
Trace Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights activities, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Describe the expansion of the civil rights movement.
Section 2
Identify the goal of the freedom riders.
Indentify the motives of the 1963 March on Washington.
Explain the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Section 3
Compare segregation in the North with segregation in the South.
Identify the leaders who shaped the Black Power movement.
Describe the reaction to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Summarize the accomplishments of the civil rights movement.

Chapter 22 – The Vietnam War Years
Section 1
Summarize America’s reasons for supporting France in Vietnam, including the domino theory.
Explain how the United States became involved in the Vietnam conflict.
Section 2
Explain the reasons for the escalation of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Section 3
Explain the draft policies that led to the Vietnam War becoming a working-class war.
Describe the antiwar movement and the growing divisions in U.S. public opinion about the war.
Section 4
Describe the Tet offensive and its effect on the American public.
Explain the domestic turbulence of 1968.

Section 5
Describe Nixon’s policy of Vietnamization.
Explain the public’s reaction to the Vietnam War during Nixon’s presidency.
Describe the end of U.S. involvement and the final outcome in Vietnam.
Explain the war’s legacy and the reason for the War Powers Act.

Chapter 23 – An Era of Social Change
Section 1
Summarize the efforts of Latinos to secure civil rights and better treatment, including the work of Cesar Chavez.
Explain the efforts of Native Americans to secure reforms in government policies.
Section 2
Describe some of the early gains and losses of the women’s movement.
Section 3
Summarize the counterculture and its impact on society.

Chapter 24 – An Age of Limits
Section 1
Summarize Nixon’s plans to lead the nation on a more conservative course.
Explain Nixon’s southern strategy.
Describe the steps Nixon took to battle stagflation.
Summarize Nixon’s foreign policy approach and explain the importance of his visits to China and the Soviet Union.
Section 2
Summarize the Watergate scandal.
Explain the effects of Watergate.
Section 3
Summarize Ford’s efforts to confront economic problems and handle foreign policy.
Summarize Jimmy Carter’s approach to solving economic problems.
Summarize Carter’s achievements and failures in foreign policy matters.
Section 4
Identify key environment issues of the 1970s.

Chapter 25 – The Conservative Tide
Section 1
Identify the goals of the conservative movement.
Section 2
Summarize Reagan’s economic programs.
Section 3
Summarize national concerns about health, education, and urban problems.
Section 4
Identify changes in the Communist world that ended the Cold War.
Summarize U.S. actions taken to influence Central American and Caribbean affairs.
Explain U.S. Involvement in the Persian Gulf War.

Chapter 26 – The United States in Today’s World
Section 1
Describe Clinton’s stand on domestic issues.
Describe Clinton’s approach to foreign policy.
Describe the first months of the Bush administration.
Section 2
Describe changes resulting from a global economy.
Section 3
Summarize the growth of communications and scientific advances.
Section 4
Identify causes of urban flight.
Explain the impact of the aging of America.
Describe changing migration patterns and immigration policies

Month 9 week 3: An Era for Social Change: Women and Native American Struggle for Equality

Chapter 23 An Era for Social Change: Women and Native Americans Struggle for Equality

Directions: Read the paragraphs below, answer the questions that follow and post your answers.

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Native Americans Seek Independence

In 1961 , 61 Native American groups came together in Chicago and drafted the Declaration of Indian Purpose. The document emphasized the role of determination of Native Americans to "choose our own way of life." It also called for an end to the "termination policy" set up in 1954 by President Eisenhower, which relocated Native Americans from isolated reservations into mainstream urban American life in an effort to alleviate the high levels of poverty and unemployment that the Native Americans were suffering from. 
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Betty Friedman leads the movement

The Women's Movement Grows

The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, and gender and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to deal with discrimination grievances. However, by 1966 some women argued that the EOC did not address women's claims to discrimination. So 28 women, including Betty Friedan, created the National Organization for Women (NOW) to advance women's goals. Now members pushed for the creation of child-care facilities that would enable mothers to pursue jobs and education. It also pressured the EEOC to enforce more vigorously the violations on gender discrimination in job hiring.

McDougal Littell, The Americans, 2003, pg.771, 778)

Thinking Through the History

1.)What group was founded specifically to address the grievances of women that were not adequately addressed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
2.) Which groups did the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect from discrimination?
3.) What right did Native American groups focus in the 1961 Declaration of Indian Purpose?
4.) How did the "termination policy" seek to alleviate high unemployment and poverty for the Native Americans?

Month 9 week 2: Social Justice on the a National Level

Social Justice on a National Level

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Defending the Weak: Cesar Chavez
Defending the weak and standing up for justice, was what lead Cesar Chavez to lead the nation to take a stand on the use of dangerous pesticides in the growing of grapes. In the 1980's in California, many died or were harmed as a result of farming and harvesting grapes that were exposed to the pesticides. The pesticides were intended to grow bigger and better grapes, but the cost of those grapes was devastating to humans.

Directions: Read the speech below written by Cesar Chavez.   Answer the questions that follow and post your answers.

I am speaking to you about our Wrath of Grapes Boycott.
Because I believe our greatest court, the court of last resort, is the American people. And I believe that once you have taken a few moments to hear this message you will concur in this verdict along with a million other North Americans who are already committed to the largest grape boycott in history.
The worth of humans is involved here.
I see us as one family. We cannot turn our backs on each other and our future. We farm workers are closest to food production. We were the first to recognize the serious health hazards of agriculture pesticides to both consumers and ourselves.
Twenty years ago over 17 million Americans united in a grape boycott campaign that transformed the simple act of refusing to buy grapes into a powerful and effective force against poverty and injustice. Through the combined strengths of a national boycott, California farm workers won many of the same rights as other workers--the right to organize and negotiate with growers.
But we also won a critical battle for all Americans. Our first contracts banned the use of DDT, DDE, Dieldrin on crops, years before the federal government acted.
Twenty years later, our contracts still seek to limit the spread of poison in our food and fields, but we need your help once again if we are to succeed.
A powerful self-serving alliance between the California governor and the 14 billion dollar agricultural industry has resulted in a systematic and reckless poisoning of not only California farm workers but of grape consumers throughout our nation and Canada.
The hard won law enacted in 1975 has been trampled beneath the feet of self-interest. Blatant violations of California labor laws are constantly ignored. And worst of all, the indiscriminate and even illegal use of dangerous pesticides has radically increased in the last decade causing illness, permanent disability and even death.
We must not allow the Governor of California and the selfish interests of California grape growers to threaten lives through-out North America.
We have known for many years that pesticides used in agriculture pollute the air, earth and water, contaminate animals and humans and are found in the tissue of newborn infants and mothers’ milk. This March, the New York Times reported that the Environmental Protection Agency finally considers pesticide pollution its most urgent problem noting virtually everyone is exposed to pesticides.
The Environmental Protection Agency experts have warned that
#1--Pesticide residue is being found in a growing number of food products.
#2--Some poisons registered for use in the last 30 years cause cancer, mutations and birth defects.
#3--Most chemicals on the market have insufficient and sometimes fraudulent test results.
#4--Underground water supplies of 23 states are already tainted and farm workers suffer some pesticide induced illness in alarming numbers.
Consumers must be alerted now that no one can actually define or measure so called safe exposure to residual poison that accumulates in the human body as environments differ and each person's tolerance is unique.

What might be safe statistically for the average healthy 40 year old male, might irreparably harm an elderly consumer, a child, or the baby of a pregnant mother.
What we do know absolutely is that human lives are worth more than grapes and that innocent looking grapes on the table may disguise poisonous residues hidden deep inside where washing cannot reach.
Let me share the frightening facts with you. Last July the New York Times and national television reported that nearly 1,000 California, Pacific Northwest, Alaskan, and Canadian consumers became ill as the result of eating watermelons tainted with the powerful insecticide Aldicarb, labeled the most acutely toxic pesticide registered in the United States. Yet Aldicarb cannot be legally used on watermelons.
In June local agriculture officials quarantined fields in Delano, California grape ranches because residues of the pesticide Orthene were found in the vineyards, yet Orthene cannot be legally used on table grapes.
And a new study shows pesticides used in growing may be responsible for the illness of over 300,000 of the nation's 4 million farm workers.
But of the 27 legal restricted toxic poisons currently used on grapes, at least 5 are potentially as dangerous or more hazardous to consumers and grape workers than deadly Aldicarb and Orthene.
Here are 5 major threats to your health that cling to the California table grapes.
Parathion and Phosdrin--are highly poisonous insecticides, similar to nerve gas, and are responsible for the majority of deaths and serious poisoning of farm workers. They cause birth defects and are carcinogens.
Captan--a proven cancer causing and birth defect producing agent. (Fungicide)
Dinoseb--a highly toxic herbicide that has caused worker deaths.
Methyl Bromide--a more potent mutagen (an agent affecting genetic material) than mustard gas and is highly poisonous and proven carcinogen.
Statistics and new articles do not relate the real cost, the human anguish that originates from poisons on our food. They do not tell the tragedies I personally learn of daily.
How can I explain these chemicals to 3 year old Amalia Larios who will never walk, born with a spinal defect due to pesticide exposure of her mother.
What statistics are important to Adrian Espinoza 7 years old and dying of cancer with 8 other children--whose only source of water was polluted with pesticides.
What headlines can justify the loss of irrigator Manuel Anaya's right hand, amputated due to recurrent infection from powerful herbicides added to the water he worked with in the fields.
How do we comfort the mother of maimed and stillborn infants, the parents who watch their teenage children sicken or die.
What report can be cited at the hospital beds I visit, at growing numbers of wakes I attend.
What court will hear the case of 32 year old Juan Chaboya, murdered by deadly chemicals in the freshly sprayed fields outside San Diego. His dead body dumped by the growers 45 miles away at a Tijuana clinic. What excuse for justice will we offer his 4 children and his widow if we do nothing.
Now is the time for all of us to stand as a family and demand a response in the name of decency. Too much is at stake. This is a battle that none of us can afford to lose because it is a fight for the future of America. It is a fight we can win and it is a fight that everyone can join.
Add your voice to our demands of decency as we call for
#1--A ban on the 5 most dangerous pesticides used in grape production--Parathion, Phosdrin, Dinoseb, Methyl Bromide and Captan.
#2--A joint UFW/grower testing program for poisonous residues on grapes sold in stores with the results made public.
#3--Free and fair elections for farm workers to decide whether to organize and negotiate contracts limiting the use of dangerous poisons in the fields.
#4--Good faith bargaining.

Until these demands of decency are met we will carry the message of the Wrath of Grapes Boycott from state to state. 10 years ago, 12% of the country boycotted grapes and the growers were forced to accountability. California Governor Deukmejian and agribusiness cannot withstand the judgment of outraged consumers who refused to purchase their tainted products.
Every month over 1 million grape consumers like yourselves receive our message across North America. State and federal law makers, mayors and city councils, religious and labor leaders, students and senior citizens, mothers and fathers, rich and poor, concerned individuals in every walk of life have endorsed the Wrath of Grapes Boycott. With their commitment and their donations, they in turn have reached out to their friends and relatives to help bind the foundation of a growing coalition of decency.
Now I am reaching out to you for help because consumers and farm workers must stand together as one family if we are to be heard. I am not asking you to give up wine or raisins. I am asking you to give us your commitment and valuable support.
I am asking you to join us now and be counted to join the growing family of individuals who will boycott grapes until the demands of decency have been met.
And hard as it is for me to ask for money, I am asking you to contribute to the cause--$100, $50, $15 whatever you can afford. Whatever you would have spent on grapes this year. Insure that every week 1 million more consumers will know the truth.
You have my personal pledge that every cent of your contributions will be spent on the Wrath of Grapes Campaign bringing this message into every home in America because this message is the source of our combined strength.
My friends, the wrath of grapes is a plague born of selfish men that is indiscriminately and undeniably poisoning us all. Our only protection is to boycott the grapes and our only weapon is the truth. If we unite we can only triumph for ourselves, for our children and for their children.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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1.) What important role did Cesar Chavez play in defending the rights of others?

2.) What type of event did he help promote to gain negotiating power on a national level?

3.) Describe how economic pressures were used to affect change. 

Month 9 Week 1: The Domino Theory

Moving Toward Conflict:

The domino theory was a strategy of the United States under President Eisenhower  of containment.  It is also the main reason for entering the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was a result of the national strategy of containment

Directions: Watch the video below. Read the following and answer the questions. Posts your responses.

To stop the spread of communism in Southeast Asia, the United States used its military to support South Vietnam. America became involved in Vietnam in 1950, during the French Indochina War, in which France sought to reestablish its rule in Vietnam after World War II. In an effort to strengthen its tie with France and to help fight the spread of communism, the United States provided the French with military and financial support. Nonetheless, the Ho Chi Minh, drove the French out of North Vietnam and set up a communist government at the capital of Hanoi. The anti-communist nationals controlled south Vietnam. Vietnam was separated at the 17th parallel line, by north and south and communist vs. anticommunist.  Due to France's retreat, the U.S. took an active role to stop the spread of communism. During a news conference in 1954, President Eisenhower explained the domino theory, in which he compared the countries on the brink of communism to a row of dominoes waiting to fall one after another. So in order to help stabilize the anticommunist government of South Vietnam, the U.S. sent military aide.

1.) What was the United States' main goal in Vietnam?
2.) How would you best explain the domino theory?
3.)Why did Congress pass the War Power's Act?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

month 8 week 4 Civil Rights part 2

President Barack Obama speaks in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 2015 in Selma, Alabama.

President Barack Obama speaks in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 2015 in Selma, Alabama.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Directions: Read President Obama's speech posted below. Post your response to the question:

  1.  Explain what happened on the bridge at Selma over 50 years ago.
  2.  What is the historical and symbolical significance of the former President Obama speaking at the bridge in Selma addressing the Nation on racism.   
  3.  Make a claim regarding this question:  Do the actions taken at Selma  over 5o years give courage to current social equality issues in America?  Provide 2-3  ideas from the speech to support your claim.
It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes.  And John Lewis is one of my heroes.
Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind.  A day like this was not on his mind.  Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about.  Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked.  A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones.  The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear.  They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:
No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.
Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis ledhem out of the church on a mission to change America.
President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:
There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided.  Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg.  Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.
Selma is such a place. 
In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher – met on this bridge. 
It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America. 
And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America – that idea ultimately triumphed.
As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation.  The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.
We gather here to celebrate them.  We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.
They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  And in the days to come, they went back again and again.  When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came – black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope.  A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing.  To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.
In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson.  And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear: 
“We shall overcome.”
What enormous faith these men and women had.  Faith in God – but also faith in America. 
The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing.  But they gave courage to millions.  They held no elected office.  But they led a nation.  They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before. 
What they did here will reverberate through the ages.  Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.
As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them.  Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them.  Their faith was questioned.  Their lives were threatened.  Their patriotism was challenged.
And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place? 
What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course? 
What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?
That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience.  That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance.  It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents: 
“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
These are not just words.  They are a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny.  For founders like Franklin and Jefferson, for leaders like Lincoln and FDR, the success of our experiment in self-government rested on engaging all our citizens in this work.  That’s what we celebrate here in Selma.  That’s what this movement was all about, one leg in our long journey toward freedom.
The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny.  It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.
It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths.  It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.
That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity.  Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall.  Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid.  Young people in Burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule.  From the streets of Tunis to the Maidan in Ukraine, this generation of young people can draw strength from this place, where the powerless could change the world’s greatest superpower, and push their leaders to expand the boundaries of freedom. 
They saw that idea made real in Selma, Alabama.  They saw it made real in America.
Because of campaigns like this, a Voting Rights Act was passed.  Political, economic, and social barriers came down, and the change these men and women wrought is visible here today in the presence of African-Americans who run boardrooms, who sit on the bench, who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from the Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval Office. 
Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American.  Women marched through those doors.  Latinos marched through those doors.  Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors.  Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past. 
What a glorious thing, Dr. King might say.
What a solemn debt we owe. 
Which leads us to ask, just how might we repay that debt?
First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough.  If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done – the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.
Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism.  For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair.
Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country.  I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar.  It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement.  But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed.  What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.
We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America.  If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties.  Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed.  Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago.  To deny this progress – our progress – would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better. 
Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes.  We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true.  We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us.  We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much. 
“We are capable of bearing a great burden,” James Baldwin wrote, “once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”
This is work for all Americans, and not just some.  Not just whites.  Not just blacks.  If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination.  All of us will need to feel, as they did, the fierce urgency of now.  All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children.  And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.
With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some.  Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on – the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for – the protection of the law.  Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.
With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity.  Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes.  But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure every child gets an education suitable to this new century, one that expands imaginations and lifts their sights and gives them skills. We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class.
And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge – and that is the right to vote.  Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote.  As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed.  Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.
How can that be?  The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort.  President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office.  President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office.  One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects.  If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.
Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone.  If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples.  Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap.  It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life.  What is our excuse today for not voting?  How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought?  How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?
Fellow marchers, so much has changed in fifty years.  We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace.  We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine.  But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.
That’s what it means to love America.  That’s what it means to believe in America.  That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional. 
For we were born of change.  We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.  We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people.  That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction, because we know our efforts matter.  We know America is what we make of it.
We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea – pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, entrepreneurs and hucksters.  That’s our spirit.
We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some; and we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth.  That’s our character.
We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan.  We are the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because they want their kids to know a better life.  That’s how we came to be.
We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South.  We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.
We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied.  We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.
We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.
We are the inventors of gospel and jazz and the blues, bluegrass and country, hip-hop and rock and roll, our very own sounds with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.
We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.
We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of, who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.”
We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
That’s what America is.  Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others.  We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it.  We don’t fear the future; we grab for it.  America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes.  We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit.  That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march. 
And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day.  You are America.  Uonstrained by habits and convention.  Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be.  For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed.  And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.
Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person. 
Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.”  We The People.  We Shall Overcome.  Yes We Can.  It is owned by no one.  It belongs to everyone.  Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.
Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished.  But we are getting closer.  Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect.  But we are getting closer.  Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile.  Somebody already got us over that bridge.  When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah: 
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not be faint.”
We honor those who walked so we could run.  We must run so our children soar.  And we will not grow weary.  For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country’s sacred promise.
May He bless those warriors of justice no longer with us, and bless the United States of America.