“What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too. Because it’s not just Negroes, but really it’s all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.”
He paused, and then, slowly, distinctly, the president uttered the words never before said by an American president: “And…we… shall… overcome.”
For a moment there was only stunned silence, as it dawned on all who listened that President Lyndon Johnson, a son of the South, had just evoked the anthem of the civil rights movement.