The nation’s first black attorney general today praised the NAACP for championing the cause of racial equality and endeavoring to reconcile the “nation’s laws and practices with its highest ideals,” but he called on Americans to recognize their responsibility to build upon the sacrifices of those who came before them.
“We must renew our commitment to capitalize on the opportunities provided by so many who sacrificed so much. All of us must find the courage to confront these issues in our own lives,” said Eric Holder, at the organization’s Centennial Convention in New York. “So as we celebrate the magnificent success of the NAACP’s first century, let us recognize that the next century will be less about changing our laws than about changing ourselves.”
Holder, whose late sister-in-law, Vivian Malone Jones, helped integrate the University of Alabama in 1963, eschewed the incendiary rhetoric of his now-famous race speech for a message of personal accountability.
The answers to many of the problems that confront some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities of color can be found within those very communities. We must be prepared to ask ourselves difficult questions and to face tough truths. We must be prepared to do what is necessary to justify our parents’ and grandparents’ investment in the struggle for civil rights. We owe this to the people and to the organization that we honor here today.
Click here for the full text of Holder’s speech.
Below you can see a word cloud of the words Holder used in his speech: