The day of the inauguration was emotionally moving. We saw nearly 2 million people descend on the Capitol with children in tow and history making agendas in their hearts. Aretha sang, Elizabeth told a poem, and a quartet performed “A Golden Age of Discovery.” But if we’re bringing up our favorite moments then there wasn’t a more moving and authentic speech than the one made by Joseph Lowery, Martin Luther King’s right hand that helped him establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
His words of unity and purpose rang through my heart like my grandfather’s old stories. Everything about his tone, his use of call and response suddenly had, for me, stamped the day as an African American inauguration. Nothing that occurred before his speech defined it as such. But once he began to talk and take us to church and conclude with my grandmother’s favorite saying, that black can get back and, to shorten it, white embraces all that is right, then I was home. I wonder how Barack felt. He smiled really big and was transported back through those streets of Chicago that brought him to the White House I bet.
Just in case. Enjoy:
Joseph Lowery Delivers the Benediction On Inauguration day January 20, 2009