Home > Life in the US, Opinion, Politics > We are a ‘great nation’ but, are things getting better?

We are a ‘great nation’ but, are things getting better?

I came across some interesting bits about the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in 1922.

One black speaker, Robert Russa Moton, the son of former slaves and president of the Tuskegee Institute, was invited to deliver an opening address. He was a late addition to the program, once the commissioners realized their failure to include even one African-American at the dedication.

Though a safe choice—he espoused Booker T. Washington’s conservative vision of race relations—Chief Justice [and former president] Taft and the Memorial Commission were worried about what Moton might say and asked to vet his speech. Moton was asked to delete a quarter of his speech including a Lincoln quote that ‘this nation cannot endure half slave and half free: it will become all one thing or all the other.’ Moton also agreed to delete, ‘With equal truth, it can be said today: no more can the nation endure half privileged and half repressed; half educated and half uneducated; half protected and half unprotected; half prosperous and half in poverty; half in health and half in sickness; half content and half in discontent; yes, half free and half yet in bondage.’

What Moton was prevented from stating ninety four years ago seems even more relevant today, particularly as we endure the current presidential election cycle.

By the way, the few African-Americans invited, got to watch and hear the dedication from the roped-off, segregated ‘colored’ section.

All this was gleaned from “Washington: A History of Our National City” by Tom Lewis.

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