Background[ edit ] When John F. Kennedy became President of the United States in Januarymany Americans perceived that the United States was losing the Space Race with the Soviet Unionwhich had successfully launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1almost four years earlier.
Text version below transcribed directly from audio. This afternoon, following a series of threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama.
That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro. That they were admitted peacefully on the campus is due in good measure to the conduct of the students of the University of Alabama, who met their responsibilities in a constructive way.
I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds.
It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. Today, we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free.
And when Americans are sent to Vietnam or West Berlin, we do not ask for whites only. It ought to be possible, therefore, for American students of any color to attend any public institution they select without having to be backed up by troops. It ought to to be possible for American consumers of any color to receive equal service in places of public accommodation, such as hotels and restaurants and theaters and retail stores, without being forced to resort to demonstrations in the street, and it ought to be possible for American citizens of any color to register and to vote in a free election without interference or fear of reprisal.
It ought to to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color. In short, every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated.
But this is not the case. This is not a sectional issue.
Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety.
Nor is this a partisan issue. In a time of domestic crisis men of good will and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. This is not even a legal or legislative issue alone. It is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets, and new laws are needed at every level, but law alone cannot make men see right.
We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.
If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place?
Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay? One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free.
They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?
Now the time has come for this Nation to fulfill its promise. The events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or State or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them. The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand.
Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives. We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people.
It cannot be met by repressive police action.Full text transcript and audio mp3 and video excerpt of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address. John F. Kennedy. Inaugural Address. delivered 20 January Video Purchase. Audio mp3 of Address Online Speech Bank. See and hear the entire speech for 56K modem download [ megabytes in ashio-midori.com movie format which requires Windows Media Player 7 (speech lasts about 33 minutes)].
See and hear the entire speech for higher speed access [ megabytes ashio-midori.com movie format which requires Windows Media Player 7]. Description: Motion picture of President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address in Washington, D.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren administers the oath of office to President Kennedy.
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and former Vice President Richard M. Nixon congratulate President. President John F. Kennedy can finally make the speech he never got to deliver because of his assassination — thanks to voice synthesis technology.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, – November 22, ), commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January until his assassination in November He served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his presidency dealt with managing .
This is a portion of the speech that President John F. Kennedy gave at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on April 27, "The President and the Press" before the American Newspaper Publishers Association.