Wednesday, December 16, 2020

the last book I ever read (A Promised Land by Barack Obama, excerpt nine)

from A Promised Land by Barack Obama:

Only once did the full meaning of my nomination hit me. By coincidence, the last night of the convention fell on the forty-fifth anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. We had decided not to draw too much attention to that fact, figuring that it was a poor idea to invite comparisons to one of the greatest speeches in American history. But I did pay tribute to the miracle of that young preacher from Georgia in the closing bars of my speech, quoting something he’d said to the people who’d gathered on the National Mall that day in 1963: “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

“We cannot walk alone.” I hadn’t remembered these particular lines from Dr. King’s speech. But as I read them aloud during practice, I found myself thinking about all the older Black volunteers I’d met in our offices around the country, the way they’d clutch my hands and tell me they never thought they’d see the day when a Black man would have a real chance to be president.

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