Obama speaks at Urban League
Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, applauded President Obama on Thursday for coming to the civil rights group's centennial conference in Washington and speaking frankly about education, race relations and the Shirley Sherrod incident.
Speaking to several thousand people at the convention, the president spoke mostly about education reform and his "Race to the Top" program. He also talked about Shirley Sherrod, a federal agriculture official who was swept up in a media storm after comments she made were edited and then posted by a blogger.
Obama called Sherrod an exemplary woman whose experiences mark "both the challenges that we have faced and the progress that we've made.'' He called the implication that she had treated blacks better than whites unfair, and said the whole dust-up was a "bogus controversy based on selective and deceiving excerpts" of a speech she had given. Those comments led U.S. Agriculture Secretary to force her resignation, though he later welcomed her to return.
Obama said "many are to blame for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments'' -- including his own administration. He said that Sherrod's story about overcoming bias "is exactly the kind of story we need to hear in America."
In an interview after the speech, Morial said he was glad that the president talked frankly about his education reform efforts, which are unpopular among some African American leaders. During his speech, Obama said "when it comes to black students, African American students trail not only almost every other developed nation abroad, but they badly trail their white classmates here at home -- an achievement gap that is widening the income gap between black and white, between rich and poor."
Morial said he and other leaders have been talking with White House officials about Obama's education reform plans, but he stopped short of endorsing them.
-- Hamil R. Harris
Posted by: ohioan | July 30, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse
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