Obama Foundation unveils excerpt to be displayed on exterior of presidential center on South Side

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, March 8, 2021
Excerpt for Obama Presidential Center Museum unveiled
The Obama Foundation unveiled the excerpt that will appear on presidential center that will open on Chicago's South Side.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The excerpt that will appear on the exterior of the Obama Presidential Center Museum was unveiled Sunday by the Obama Foundation.

The Obama Foundation shared a video on Twitter as part of the reveal.

In February, it was announced that the groundbreaking for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park could start as early as August of 2021. The project is moving forward after a four-year federal review and other delays, including concerns by activists that the center would displace south side residents. The center is expected to generate 700,000 annual visitors and more than $3 billion in economic development.

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Sunday's announcement came on the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. The excerpt that will be carved into the exterior of the new museum comes from Former President Barack Obama's "You are America" speech that marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery, Alabama march for voting rights.

Part of the speech reads: "You are America. Unconstrained by habit and convention. Unencumbered by what is, ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, there is new ground to cover, there are more bridges to be crossed. America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.' 'We The People.' 'We Shall Overcome.' 'Yes We Can.' That word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours."

"What I hope the quote provides is a sense for all those folks on the south side of Chicago that they count, that they matter. So my hope is that in the same way John Lewis gave me the sense of meaning and purpose that Michelle and I are able to pass that on because it's our daughters' generation. The goal of the Obama Presidential Center is for them to be able to identify that as an institution and a space that supports them," Former President Obama said.

In a tweet, Former First Lady Michelle Obama said she also hopes young people believe those words when they pass by the new presidential center.