NBC: Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Alabama at the annual commemoration of the Selma to Montgomery bridge march of 1965.
“We saw in stark relief the rank hatred, discrimination, violence that still existed in large swaths of the nation.”
“What all of you did that day, and the next, and the next, and the next, allowed America to… begin to see the potential that actually existed maybe, maybe for the first time.”
“What happened at the bridge generated a lesson that was absolutely clear… it was palpable… There’s courage to stand up to moral imperatives of the day… saying the right thing… But there’s a different kind of courage standing and looking at somebody who has a club in his hand, and you KNOW… The courage to look evil in the eye.“
“… Believing that although the cost had been high, victory was inevitable.”
“We owe Jesse Jackson… We owe John Lewis, and so many more. We owe all of you a debt that we can never be fully repaid.”
“I wonder how many people remember what the fight was about… But today you say… it was about the right to vote, nothing else. Just the right to vote. It wasn’t about the right to go to ‘somebody’s school’… Most everybody already thought by ’65 [the right to vote] was pretty settled.”
“You walked out of the doors of the… church… that’s why, in spite of the certain knowledge that you’d get beaten, you stepped your foot on that bridge and defied and ultimately defeated those voices of prejudice. That’s why you did it. Because you know and every American knows… that without the right to vote, there’s no right guaranteed, and you can’t count on anyone else voting your interests. YOU gotta vote your interests.“
“You broke the back of the forces of evil. …. That march didn’t end in Montgomery. You know it continues today.“
“Never did I think 40 years earlier that I’d be standing on that platform [with Pres. Obama]. Things have changed, they’ve gotten better, but folks, there’s still a lot more.”
“In 2011-12, we were preparing to run for re-election. 40-41 states passed 180 laws to restrict the right to vote. 180 laws. Some more pernicious than others. We saw it with state legislators working to end same day registration, cutting back early voting, requiring voter ID where no fraud was ever shown, restricting voters registration drives… Here we are, 48 years after all you did, and we’re still fighting? In 2011, ’12, and ’13? We were able to beat back most of those attempts, but that doesn’t mean it’s over.”
“Strom Thurmond voted for re-authorization, and yet it’s being challenged in the Supreme Court of the U.S. as we stand here today. Legislators in a number of states are looking for new ways to restrict and make more difficult for African Americans and other minorities to vote.“
“Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act… We can’t let our guard down.”
“Here’s what John said [at the National Democratic Convention]… He said, “They’re changing the rules. They’re cutting polling hours and imposing requirements intended to suppress the vote. Too many people struggled,” he went on to say, “And die to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote. We have come too far together to turn back.”
Please watch all the way to the end.