U.Va. Holds Forum on Barack Obama's Race Relations Speech

March 26, 2008 — "What would be needed … to narrow the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of our time?"

The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia presents a new series of discussion sessions on current events, with the first one tackling the above question posed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama about bridging racial divides.

The first "Currents in Conversation" forum will be held Thursday, March 27, at 5 p.m. in Clarke Hall, room 107. It will include a screening of Obama's recent speech challenging Americans to confront racial issues that persist in this country. Deborah McDowell, director of the institute, will moderate a discussion with the people who attend the event, which is free and open to the public.

"Two hundred and 21 years ago," Obama said in his March 18 speech, "a group of men gathered and, with these simple words ['We the people, in order to form a more perfect union …'], launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. … The document they produced was signed but ultimately unfinished. …What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part, through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk, to narrow the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of our time."

For information, contact Luann Williams at woodson@virginia.edu.