Barack Obama’s Selma Speech focuses on three main topics: the importance of the Selma marches, confronting present challenges in America, and unity.

While these are the underlying themes of the speech, you should also note that the speaker touches on subjects such as the American values of freedom and equality, the Civil Rights Movement, and police brutality against African-Americans.

Historical context

Obama’s speech is intended to honor the Selma to Montgomery march that happened 50 years before the speech. Members of the African-American community and others who supported them marched to demonstrate that they are entitled to the right to vote. As they marched, the protestors were attacked by law enforcement officers and the day became known as Bloody Sunday. Some protestors also died at the hands of white groups. This first march was followed by two more, which culminated with the protestors’ arrival in Montgomery, the state capital. The marches helped the Voting Rights Act to be passed, which prohibits racial discrimination in voting. Obama uses the historical importance of the Selma marches to convey a message of unity and focuses on relevant themes to achieve his intention.

Importance of the Selma marches

Obama establishes the importance of the Selma marches as he s...

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