Obama renews vow to 'stamp out' racism

President Obama marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling by recommitting to "the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms."

On Friday at the White House, the president hosted lead attorneys, members of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and some relatives of the thirteen Topeka, Kan., families who sued over their school district's racial segregation policies in the landmark 1954 civil rights case.

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Obama said in a statement that the ruling was "the first major step in dismantling the 'separate but equal' doctrine that justified Jim Crow," the racial segregation laws that were in place at the state and local level across the South.

"As we commemorate this historic anniversary, we recommit ourselves to the long struggle to stamp out bigotry and racism in all their forms," Obama said. "We reaffirm our belief that all children deserve an education worthy of their promise. And we remember that change did not come overnight, that it took many years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children."

First lady Michelle Obama marked the anniversary Friday by visiting Topeka, Kansas, the site of the lawsuit that sparked the case. In a rousing speech, the first lady told Kansas high school graduates they could keep the legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education decision alive by battling everyday racism, from stereotypes to hateful jokes.

"When you encounter folks who still hold the old prejudices because they’ve only been around folks like themselves, when you meet folks who think they know all the answers because they’ve never heard any other viewpoints, it is up to you to help them see things differently," the first lady said.

 

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