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Wed Jun 3, 2020, 09:57 AM

Joe Biden's George Floyd speech references Birmingham's Bull Connor [View all]


Eugene "Bull" Connor, former Birmingham, Ala. police commissioner and fiery segregationist, gestures during his speech, June 8, 1963, to the Tuscaloosa, Alabama County White Citizens Council. Connor urged the audience to stay away from the University of Alabama campus when two blacks are scheduled to enroll. (AP Photo/stf) The Plain Dealer

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden referenced one of the most painful eras in Alabama history in remarks about the police-involved slaying of Minnesota man George Floyd. Speaking at Philadelphia City Hall, Biden also criticized President Donald Trump and his handling of Washington D.C. protests over Floyd’s death.

“This nation is a nation of values. Our freedom to speak is the cherished knowledge that lives inside every American,” Biden said. “We will not allow any President to quiet our voice. We won’t let those who see this as an opportunity to sow chaos throw up a smokescreen to distract us from the very real and legitimate grievances at the heart of these protests.”

Biden went on to say that the it’s in “some of the darkest moments of despair,” that America has made great progress. “The 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments followed the Civil War. The greatest economy in the history of the world grew out of the Great Depression. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 came in the tracks of Bull Connor’s vicious dogs. To paraphrase Reverend Barber — it’s in the mourning we find hope,” Biden said.

In 1963, Connor was the Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner. He became known worldwide for using fire hoses and police attack dogs against black civil rights marchers in Birmingham. Images of the attacks were broadcast around the world and became lasting symbols of the brutality of the era.


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