Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Attorney General Commemorates Martin Luther King Jr.

Aired January 17, 2002 - 11:33   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to dip in now. Let's listen to Attorney General John Ashcroft. He is at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., speaking at a commemorative event for Martin Luther King Jr.

Let's listen in a bit.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: ... ...the six principles of nonviolence. These remind me of the letter of Dr. King from the Birmingham Jail when he really touched, I think, us at our most innermost beings, that we have to remember, in the midst of our struggles, that we have a certain character that we exhibit and that we achieve most profoundly and most successfully our objectives when we refuse to deny that character.

That strength of character is something that we celebrate today, and that strength of character is part of what makes us so eager to thank, publicly, Dr. Martin Luther King as a nation, to honor the birthday, the life and the dream of this great American.

It is important for us, in this hall of justice, to recognize and to thank Dr. Martin Luther King. We stand in awe of our predecessors in this department.

We strive to build upon the heritage of men and women who were the trust-busters. They were the protectors of our nation's security from fascists and communists. They were the prosecutors of Mafia bosses and corrupt political machines. And they were crusaders for every American's equality, civil liberties, civil rights and human dignity.

We stand in awe of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, who led a struggle for the rights and dignity of fellow citizens, deeply rooted in the cause of justice for all Americans. "In the end," Dr. King wrote early in his career, "the struggle for civil rights," and I'm quoting now, "is not a struggle between people at all, but a tension between justice and injustice." Dr. King was not afraid to evoke this tension. And he devoted his life to rallying the consciences of Americans to places where justice was absent.

I'll quote Dr. King again. "I am here in Birmingham because injustice is here," he wrote in his extraordinary letter to a group of white clergymen from a Birmingham City jail cell in 1963, quote, "and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Monday will mark the 73rd anniversary of Martin Luther King's birth and the 16th time that Americans have celebrated a national day honoring him. The work that he began in Montgomery, Selma, and Washington is not finished, but his message of freedom, tolerance, hope, it continues to echo in the cause of justice.

It's a testimony to Dr. King's legacy that almost immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, voices were raised cautioning Americans not to turn their anger against Arab-Americans and people of the Muslim faith. Americans overwhelmingly heeded this message.

In many cases, individuals reached out to Muslims and to others to reassure them that they were still welcomed and valued members of our communities. The vast majority of Americans seemed to understand that the nation had suffered a great lost.

KAGAN: We have been listening to Attorney General John Ashcroft, speaking at the Justice Department. This is a commemorative event for Martin Luther King Jr.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top