Obama invokes black-Jewish ties in NAACP speech

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama invoked the black-Jewish alliance in a speech to the pre-eminent African-American civil  rights group.

Speaking Monday in New York, Obama focused on education in his first speech as president to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He said discrimination still persisted in the United States against blacks, Latinos and gays among others, but emphasized to cheers the challenge parents faced in keeping their children focused on schoolwork.

In the 35-minute speech’s final minutes, he recalled the roles of heroes of the civil rights movement in overcoming challenges.

"If three civil rights workers in Mississippi — black, white, Christian and Jew, city born and country bred — could lay down their lives in freedom’s cause, I know we can come together to face down the challenges in our own time," he said, referring to the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Obama similarly cited those murders as a foundation of the black-Jewish alliance in a speech he delivered to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee during his presidential campaign a year ago.

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