President Obama delivered two key messages during his speech in Selma over the weekend. One, it’s a mistake to suggest that racism is banished in America. “We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true.” And two, we’ve made a lot of progress: “If you think nothing’s changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress — our progress — would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.” It’s worth putting politics and cynicism aside long enough to consider that on Saturday, a black president spoke at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. There’s a long way to go, but that’s a hell of a 50 years.

+ “We’ve gone too far now to turn back.” To understand how far we’ve come, take a look back at this excellent Eyes on the Prize segment: Bridge to Freedom, 1965.