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Monday, March 4, 2013

American Rhetoric: President William J. Clinton- Memphis Church of God in Christ Speech From 1993

Source: American Rhetoric- President William J. Clinton-
Source: American Rhetoric: President William J. Clinton- Memphis Church of God in Christ Speech

I saw this speech last week when I was watching a documentary about President Clinton and his Presidency. I might of seen this speech before, but I simply can't remember, but I already believe it's probably the best speech he's ever given at least as President of the United States. Even better than his first inaugural, or his 1992 or 2000 Democratic Convention speeches. All great speeches if you are not familiar with them, I suggest you watch or read them even if you don't like Bill Clinton, but someone who likes listening to good speeches. What made this speech great was the time that it was given, twenty five years after Martin Luther King was assassinated, not the anniversary of that assassination, this was November, 1993 MLK was murdered April, 1968, but twenty-five years after he was murdered and what else made this speech great was the simple honesty of it. He was attempting to speak for MLK, no one of course can do that we are simply talking about perhaps the greatest speaker this country has ever produced.

But what President Clinton was attempting to do was to layout what MLK would think of America. And the African-American community twenty-five years later and the progress that it has made. But the challenges that still remain and what he died for and what he didn't die for. That fewer African-Americans as a percentage of the country lives in poverty and more live in the middle class. And are well-educated but still too many live in poverty and so-forth. But the line in this speech that hit me the hardest not in a bad way, was when President Clinton said attempting to speak for Martin King, "I did not die to stop the violence from white people onto black people only to see black people killing other black people. I did not die to see that." And if you are an African-American I believe that's got to hit home that yes they've made progress, but we are still not at the mountaintop where Reverend King wanted African-Americans to join him.