Biden chides GOP for ‘trying to hide the truth’ about Black history in marking Bloody Sunday

President Biden on Sunday called out Republicans for efforts to limit teaching parts of Black history as he marked the 58th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

“History matters,” Biden said at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. “The truth matters, notwithstanding what the other team is trying to hide. They’re trying to hide the truth.”

Biden highlighted the importance of teaching African American studies, which comes amid a growing debate over Republicans pushing to prevent the teaching of certain subject matters such as African American studies in schools.

“No matter how hard some people try, we can’t just choose to learn what we want to know but not what we should know. We should learn everything, the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. And everyone should know the truth of Selma,” Biden said.

Republicans have in recent years ratcheted up their attacks on “critical race theory,” and earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a likely 2024 presidential candidate, moved to block a new Advanced Placement (AP) course for high school students on African American studies.

“We know where we’ve been and we know more importantly where we have to go, forward, together,” Biden said on Sunday. “So let’s pray, let’s not rest, let’s keep marching, let’s keep the faith.”

“Together we’re saying loud and clearly that in America hate and extremism will not prevail, although they are roaring their ugly head in significance now,” Biden added. “Silence is complicity and I promise you, my administration will not remain silent.”

Bloody Sunday, when 600 civil rights marchers and white police officers violently clashed on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 amid the Civil Rights movement, had served as a catalyst for the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

To mark the anniversary, Biden then walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge along with Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell (D), Rev. Al Sharpton, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn (D), Martin Luther King III, and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, among others. 

Biden greeted those on the bridge and then stood in the middle of the front line to walk across, locking arms with Sewell. And, he evoked the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was beaten by police on the bridge while leading the march from Selma to Montgomery.

Biden on Sunday renewed calls for Congress to pass the voting rights bill named after Lewis, which would update the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA). He also called for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, end qualified immunity, and prohibit racial and religious profiling by law enforcement officers.

Updated: 5:50 p.m.

Tags GOP Joe Biden John Lewis Marcia Fudge President Joe Biden Ron DeSantis Terri Sewell

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