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(NECN) - In the 1980's, Charles Ogletree Jr. taught Barack and Michelle Obama at Harvard Law School.
Wednesday, on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, he was a guest when President Obama spoke in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, wrapped in the aura of Martin Luther King.
Ogletree even had a speaking part himself. On Saturday, he spoke from the same spot where Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama would speak on Wednesday.
Ogletree joined Jim Braude on Broadside to discuss the anniversary of King's speech, President Obama's handling of Syria and more.
"It was great to see the President," said Ogletree. "I was very impressed with what he had to say. I made it clear when I was asked about this before ... I said, no no, he's not a preacher. He's not King, and he's not trying to be King. He's aspiring to follow the footsteps of Lincoln and King in terms of being someone concerned about social justice and all these other issues. He gave a terrific speech. I think it'll be more appreciated not now, but decades from now."
Ogletree said that while he is a great admirer of Obama's he has not done as much as he can do and should do.
"The joblessness in the 21st century, for a black man, is worse than it was in the 20th century," said Ogletree. "Over a million black men are incarcerated across the country in state and federal prisons. The homelessness problem is real. And I'm not a Tavis Smiley or a Cornel West who just want to be critical to be critical, but I think these are challenges the President has to address ... I suspect, though, that right now, he's talked about Trayvon Martin, he's talked about the future, and I hope that we'll see him come up with a jobs plan and some other plans that will address some of these main issues."
See the attached video for the complete discussion.