On this day 50 years ago, John F. Kennedy gave one of the bravest speeches on Civil Rights ever given by a sitting president.
It was given on the occasion of Vivian Malone and James Hood, being admitted to Alabama University under protection of the National Guard, in opposition to Governor George Wallace.
It is true that Civil Rights demonstrations prodded and pushed President Kennedy to be assertive if not aggressive on this issue. But it in this broadcast to the nation, Kennedy unambiguously and unequivocally described defined the issue of segregation as a 'moral issue, as clear as the scripture...'
JFK was a political figure, some of us believe him to be a great one, but politics and its moral impact do not have to be mutually exclusive. There monumental times when that which is political squares with moral law. When that happens, and men of courage recognize it and act upon it as moral agents, history is changed.
Many of the statistics cited by President Kennedy exist today, 50 years later, adjusted by population growth and economics. It is still political. It is still a moral issue. The question is do we have the courage to recognize it and act upon it as moral agents. Let's hope it doesn't take another 50 years to find out.
You can find an actual clip of the speech here...