Obama Marks 150th Anniversary of Abolishment of Slavery - NBC New York
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Obama Marks 150th Anniversary of Abolishment of Slavery

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    President Barack Obama speaks in Emancipation Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, during a commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery in the U.S.

    President Obama said at a ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment on Wednesday that Americans should remember that "our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others," no matter what faith they practice, an apparent reference to Donald Trump's proposal to keep Muslims from traveling to the United States.

    “Remember that our freedom is bound up with the freedom of others—regardless of what they look
    like, or where they come from, or what their last name is or what faith they practice," Obama said.

    "We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms," Obama continued. He did not mention Trump by name in his speech. 

    The president was joined at the commemoration at the U.S. Capitol by members of both the House and the Senate, including Congressional leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus, in marking this historic event. 

    Obama said the 13th Amendment's abolishment of slavery was freedom for all and that the nation was built on the premise that all are created equal.

    Obama recounted how slavery shaped the nation's politics and nearly tore it asunder in the Civil War.

    "The question of slavery was never simply about civil rights," Obama said. "It was about...the kind of country we wanted to be."

    He said the scars are still with Americans today. He pressed for Americans to push back against bigotry in all forms.

    "We condemn ourselves to shackles once more if we fail to answer those who wonder if they’re truly equals in their communities," Obama said.