Ahead of a commemoration of the civil rights movement this weekend in Selma, Ala., Obama later called the civil rights movement “an unfinished project," pointing specifically to existing tensions in communities such as Ferguson, and in New York City.
“This was a quintessentially American moment," he said on the Tom Joyner radio show of the march from Selma to Montgomery. "America at its best is about its capacity for change and not just denying problems but taking them head on. America at its best is also about ordinary people, we the people, making change.”
Obama added that too frequently people think of the civil rights movement as a distant, historic moment when in fact “this was just yesterday, basically.”
“Part of what I want Malia and Sasha to understand is that this an unfinished project,” Obama told Joyner. “There is work to be done right now. ... It is a glorious task we are given to continually try to improve this country of ours. And we shouldn’t shy away from that work, and we shouldn’t be complacent about it.”