LINK: Sen. Obama’s commemoration speech of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, AL, Mar. 4, 2007 – The “Joshua Generation” speech
The presidential campaign had officially started, and both Obama and his main rival, Hillary Clinton, were attending the commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, AL.
At this point, polls showed that Obama did not have the allegiance of most African-American voters. Indeed, due to long associations, the Clintons appeared to have a strong hold on this demographic. Moreover, many African-American leaders (such as Tavis Smiley and Andrew Young) challenged Obama’s “authenticity” and, basically, his “blackness.”
In this speech, one of his most memorable, he discusses the obligations of the next generation of African Americans that came after the older civil rights generation of the 1960s, a group he calls the “Joshua Generation,” a term that has been widely adopted. In this speech, among other things, he tries to bolster his connection and debt to older generations of black leaders and to shore up his connection with the larger black community.