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President Obama said that America will never truly be absolved for slavery if Americans don't stand up against modern-day racism and xenophobia.

"We condemn ourselves to shackles once more if we fail to answer those who wonder if they are truly equals in their communities or in the justice system or in a job interview," Obama said Wednesday from the Capitol, where government officials gathered to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.

"We betray the efforts of the past if we fail to push back against bigotry in all its forms," he said to applause.

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