Tuesday, January 20, 2009


"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around. When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen." From Reverend Joseph Lowery's Inaugural Benediction January 2009

Odetta wanted to sing at President Obama's Inauguration,
however she died December 3, 2008.

Odetta was born December 31 1930.
I want to include Odetta on this post to honor her wish.

Odetta sings We Shall Overcome and This Little Light of Mine
Thanks to Thespadecaller


Odetta in an interview on Human Rights
Thanks to visionaryproject


Rev. Joseph Lowery ends his benediction with a mention of racial work still to be done

Source: www.chicagotribune.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid the outpouring of inaugural joy over the racial progress represented by President Barack Obama, there was a single, humorous mention of work still to be done.

After the first black president had been sworn in, Rev. Joseph Lowery' ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers:

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around..."

There was laughter from the enormous crowd. The 87-year-old civil rights pioneer continued:

"When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

The crowd thundered, "Amen!"


Lowery Grateful That Nation Believes 'yes We Can'

Rev. Lowery Offers Benediction Praying For Obamas And For Economic Recovery

(AP) The Rev. Joseph Lowery has thanked God for letting Barack Obama inspire the nation to believe that "yes, we can" work together toward a "more perfect union."

Delivering a benediction at the end of Obama's inauguration ceremony, Lowery said Obama takes office at a "low moment" in the nation's and the world's economic health. He prayed for an end to "exploitation" of the weak and poor, and what he called "favoritism toward the rich."

The 87-year-old Methodist is considered the dean of the civil rights movement, helping lead the Montgomery bus boycotts in the 1950s and delivering a list of demands to Alabama Gov. George Wallace during the bloody Selma-Montgomery March in 1965.

After being asked to deliver the benediction at Obama's inauguration, Lowery said he's long hoped that an African-American would one day become president, but didn't think he'd live long enough to see it.


The election does not augur a "post-racial" era any more than it ends the civil rights struggle, writes Rev. Joseph Lowery. (Tribune photo by Alex Garcia / January 15, 2009)

Civil rights figure Rev. Joseph Lowery reflects on a movement

Rev. Joseph Lowery, 87, a major figure in the civil rights movement who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to overturn discrimination in voting rights and other aspects of American public life, will give the benediction at Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday. The Tribune invited Lowery to reflect on the journey from King to Obama. Here is his essay.

They tell me that when you stand on the Capitol steps and look down the Mall, you can see the Lincoln Memorial. I look forward to that experience when Barack Obama takes the oath to become the 44th president of these United States.

I will look down that Mall and in my mind's eye I will see a 34-year-old preacher standing before a crowd of nearly a quarter of a million at that Lincoln Memorial in 1963, calling on Americans to move beyond the color of their skin to the content of their character.

Obama's inauguration is a nation's response to that call.

We celebrate Martin Luther King's 80th

birthday the day before the nation's first black president takes office. Obama accepted his party's nomination on the 45th anniversary of that young preacher's "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Interesting connections, right?

In those days, we thought there would be a black person serving as president someday, but I don't recall any of us thinking we would live to see that day.

When Martin was killed in April 1968, there were only a few hundred black elected officials in the U.S. Today the number is around 10,000!

The 1965 Voting Rights Act—the most significant legislation in my lifetime—opened the door to political emancipation. In 1965, the first casualty of the voting-rights campaign, Jimmie LeeAlabama state trooper in a town named Marion. Out of this tragedy came the idea of marching from Selma to Montgomery to gain national support for the right to vote. Then Martin named a committee to take our demands to Gov. George Wallace, and I was appointed chairman.

But when we reached the Capitol steps to go to the governor's office, we were blocked by a sea of blue-uniformed state troopers. The National Guard was there too, and was authorized to protect us. I looked back at the general of the National Guard, and he barked some commands to the guardsmen and they tramped over in front of the state troopers and made motions with their rifles across their shoulders. Just as dramatically as it sounds, the "blue sea" parted, and we walked up the steps to the door of the Capitol. Moses had the Red Sea—we had the blue sea!

Even so, the governor didn't want to meet us, so he sent his secretary to ask for our demands. I said we didn't march 50 miles from Selma to give our concerns to the governor's secretary. A few days later, Wallace finally met with us.

Our struggle in Alabama awakened the nation, and the Voting Rights Act soon became the law of the land.

The "I have a dream" speech is Martin's most famous and is an international institution. It has been so used and abused that sometimes I think its beauty and power may have been tucked away. There are forces in this country who have deviously used lines from the speech to claim that Martin opposed affirmative action! As we celebrate Dr. King's 80th birthday, I want to call your attention to my favorite of all his writings, "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

In the heat of the Birmingham movement, eight white Alabama clergymen issued a statement calling on Dr. King to halt the demonstrations. Interestingly enough, the clerics affirmed the righteousness of the cause but condemned the timing. "Wait," they cried, "for a more convenient season."

Martin's response, written on scraps of paper, even toilet paper (jailers would provide no paper at all), was classic. He expounded on the efficacy of non-violence in achieving social change, the urgency of now and the futility of waiting on a more propitious moment. He set forth the moral and theological underpinnings of the movement. He discussed the nature and purpose of "direct action"—civil disobedience—and explained his great disappointment with the failure of white moderates and the white church to come to grips with the moral imperatives of both the Christian and Jewish faiths.

He made clear that the goal of the movement was not to defeat white folks but to change a system that harmed both the oppressor and the oppressed.

To appropriately celebrate Martin, we must honor both the man and the movement. To ennoble the man and ignore the movement is to do injustice to both. We must not let the spirit of the movement be overcome with sentimental ceremonies that omit the sacramental nature of the struggle. Ceremonies end with the benediction while sacraments begin with the benediction. Ceremony is like putting a ring on her finger at the wedding. Sacrament is ringing her life with love and joy ever after.

"Letter from Birmingham Jail" keeps the focus on the movement—the continuing struggle for justice. The need to honor the mission as well as the missionary is expressed in a poem by Carl Wendell Hines called "Now That He Is Safely Dead":

Now that he is safely dead

Let us praise him ...

Dead men make

such convenient heroes: They

cannot rise

to challenge the images

we would fashion from their lives.

And besides,

it is easier to build monuments

than to make a better world.

Now that the American people have elected an African-American president, I'm hearing terms like "post-racial." I don't understand that any more than "post-civil-rights." Are people implying that we have reached the goals of the movement now that we have a black president? No way. The election of one black even to the most powerful office on the planet does not resolve all the problems of racial discrimination. The advocacy community must continue to "speak truth to power" no matter who holds the reins of power. The racial/ethnic/color/gender identity of the powerful should change from time to time, but the advocacy for "justice to roll down as waters" must be everlasting.

The median income of blacks is about two-thirds of the median income of whites; the criminal justice system of 2008 is too much like the criminal justice system of 1938 as far as race is concerned. But thank the Lord, we have come a long, long way, and I am proud of my country for the election of Barack Obama. It is a giant step forward.

When I recall the image of that preacher at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday, I'm sure he will be smiling, and both of us may have eyes moistened with tears of joy. I'm equally certain that we will continue to pray for justice to roll down as waters, and for that day when there will be peace in the valley, and for that day when every man and every woman will sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none will be afraid, and for that day when black will not be asked to get back, brown can stick around, yellow will be mellow, the red man can get ahead, man, and white will embrace what is right! Amen! Read the article at the source www.chicagotribune.com



Civil rights figure Rev. Joseph Lowery reflects on a movement

(topic overview)

Source: newsfeedresearcher.com


Genocide Ends

When Enough of Us

Stand Up Against It



Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


At February 1, 2009 at 8:36:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can not believe the ignorence of the people! Please think about do we get upset about a Black Miss America or Black College funds, Black this or that. Guess who would yell and scream if we had a White Awards, or just White beauty pageant, or White coLlege funds. They all claim to be African-American. Sorry people they are not the only ones from another country. What about asking about race other then African-American, Latino, white, other. That don't fly with me I may be Scottish-American or Italian-American, Dutch-American, Australian-America. The point is we are all from somewhere. To set the record straight we did not start the slavery issue, the spanish in South America did. I am tired of the reverse race issues. The Jewish-America do not speak poorly of the German-Americans. They do not have all these Jewish Beauty Pageants,colleges funds, or anything thing else to prove some point. I teach my children there is no such thing as a black or white person. Really Look at the actual colors have you truly ever seen a black, white, brown,red,green, or yellow person. We sould be described as the color we are, peach, tan light brown,etc. My daughters friends often have told me I'm not black look at my arm I am tan!
From the mouths of children we should return!!!!!!! Think like children and you will enter the kingdom of heaven.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home