Remarks of the Secretary of State at State Dept. African American History Month Celebration
Here’s an excerpt, the whole thing is worth reading.
So black Americans, African Americans, have always depended on faith and family and education. In the most hostile times, in the most difficult times, that’s what saw us through.
But something else saw us through, and that was a belief in America and its values and its principles, even when America didn’t believe in us. It was a belief that was so strong that Frederick Douglass didn’t appeal outside of America’s principles and values, he appealed to America’s principles and values for America to be true to itself. It was such that Martin Luther King didn’t appeal outside of America’s values, he appealed to America to be true to itself in progressing for black Americans. It was true that people like Dr. Dorothy Height, the only woman among the Big Six, appealed not outside of America’s values, but to America’s values, to challenge America to be true to itself.
That should remind us, each and every one of us, African American, European American, whatever we are, that the important thing that the founders left to us was not a perfect America by any means, but an America that had principles that allowed impatient patriots to appeal to those principles and to tell America to be true to itself.