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Lowery: Obama Still Not Post-Racial Era

It’s clear that Mr. Lowery’s remarks were no surprise to the Obama camp.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Civil rights figure Rev. Joseph Lowery reflects on a movement

Mon 19 Jan 2009

The election does not augur a "post-racial" era any more than it ends the civil rights struggle, writes Rev. Joseph Lowery.

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…

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!

And this same chant has been used by Mr. Lowery before.

As Byron York at National Review noticed back in May 2008, Michelle Obama heard and approved of these very same lines:

Michelle Obama Says ‘Amen’

By Byron York

May 6, 2008

Charlotte, N.C. — “Tomorrow, we shall achieve the victory, that the kingdom of God may come on earth as it is in heaven, and all those who love the Lord and will vote for Obama, say Amen.”


When it comes to giving a rip-roaring pre-election invocation, you just can’t do better than Rev. Joseph Lowery. The 86-year-old civil-rights legend has come to the Ovens Auditorium here in Charlotte to work the crowd, perhaps 1,000-strong, into a prayerful mood before the last North Carolina appearance of Michelle Obama, wife of the man whose election will herald the coming of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. And as Lowery gets going, it’s clear he’s waited for this moment for a very long time.

“I remember, Lord, when Martin and others of us were in 1957, in New Orleans, we knew one day this day would come,” Lowery begins. “We didn’t know when or where, but we knew after Martin said, Lord, to this nation, ‘Give us the ballot.’”

“Yes,” says the crowd.

“We didn’t know, Lord, that you were going to place so much significance on the great state of North Carolina — ”

“That’s right —”

“but we know the people of North Carolina are able to bear the burden, and to meet the challenge, and to pass the test, and tomorrow the people of North Carolina will give climax to the campaign that seeks to lift America to another level — ”

“Uh-huh — ”

“to higher ground.”

“That’s right — ”

“And so, Lord, we thank you that we have in this campaign and this election an opportunity in this election to move America from the dark valley of doubt to the mountaintop of hope.”

“Yes — ”

“To those days when black will not be asked to get back — ”

“That’s right — ”

“when brown can stick around — ”

“Uh-huh — ”

“when yellow can be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, and when white will see the light.”

“Yes — ”

When Lowery comes to his close, when he exhorts everyone who loves the Lord and will vote for Obama to say ‘Amen,’ there’s a huge roar of applause, perhaps because those present do not just plan to vote for Barack Obama — they’ve already voted for him…

And for the record, Mr. Lowery also referenced the “Black National Anthem” with his opening lines:

Lift every voice and sing,
‘Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on ’til victory is won…

So he wasn’t kidding about how Obama’s election does not mean the beginning of a post-racial era.

Not by a long shot.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “Lowery: Obama Still Not Post-Racial Era”

  1. Trialdog says:

    Divisive. Hateful. Paving the way for a reparations bill.

  2. onapalehorse says:

    “To those days when black will not be asked to get back — ”
    “That’s right — ”
    “when brown can stick around — ”
    “Uh-huh — ”
    “when yellow can be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, and when white will see the light.”
    “Yes — ”

    I heard this garbage and was offended. I mean how BLATANTLY racist this was. It takes a lot to get me to post here, but c’mon. That was a bunch of cr@p.

  3. invertigo2004 says:

    “and white will embrace what is right!”

    Funny, seems to me if white hadn’t embraced what is right, he wouldn’t be standing anywhere near the President of the United States on Inauguration Day.

  4. proreason says:

    He figures they haven’t milked us for everything yet.

    Nobody’s squawking, so it’s back to the feeding trough tomorrow.

  5. TickTock says:

    More political hate-speech thinly disguised as “religion” by another black bigot “Rev.”.

    These clowns are doing all they can to gin-up a race war. They’re plain racist. I reckon they think they can get away with anything now that Dumbass is King… and they probably will.

  6. Golem says:

    These people live in the past.

    The Jim Crow era is over. It’s been over for some time.

  7. 4USA says:

    This Black Liberation Theology is not going to go away. The only thing on their mind is complete and total redistribution of all the nation’s wealth. The mortgage debacle is only the beginning.

    I like for people to be honest. His comments were hurtful and wrong in my opinion, but at least we know where he stands. I wish Barack Hussein Obama would be as forthcoming. Maybe he wouldn’t be in control of all our lives right now, if he had.

  8. jobeth says:

    Can any of you picture Bush having someone of his ilk on the platform on such a special day? Good grief, if this is any indication of his judgement…..But then we know that already don’t we.

    First Wright now this guy. Hate to think who might be next. Considering all his commie friends…..God help us.

  9. Confucius says:

    “I’m equally certain that we will continue to pray . . . for that day when . . . yellow will be mellow . . . .”

    How insulting. I’ve never known a “yellow” to march, demonstrate, protest or even hold a bullhorn. I’ve also never known a “yellow” to put on fatigues, combat boots or a beret.


    Ever noticed how racist black reverends can be?

    • gipper says:

      I think our dear reverend meant to imply that Asians would not be oppressed by “The Man” anymore.

      My wife is Asian and was part of a wealthy family in Vietnam. Her family’s wealth was taken from them and given to the state during the war. (The Communists had to spread the wealth, after all.) She escaped Vietnam in a fishing boat after the fall of Saigon. She was only five years old then. Her family lived in a refugee camp in Thailand before the Lutheran Church sponsored her to come over to America. She has said several times that she is lucky to be living in the USA. If she and her family had stayed in Vietnam, they would have been re-educated and she most likely would be working in some factory sewing shirts. Nevermind “The Man” in the USA–she would have been much more oppressed in Vietnam.

      As it stands now, she DOES put on fatigues, but not as part of a militant race group like the Black Panthers. She serves in the U.S. Army and right now she is deployed to Iraq to secure the freedom of the Iraqis, stabilize peace in the Middle East, and to diminish the threat of terrorist organizations.

    • Confucius says:

      To my friend “gipper,”

      It doesn’t matter who has oppressed Asians. Be they white, black or yellow (the usual case), Asians usually look the other way and take it. And they certainly don’t wail and carry on for decades, if not centuries, their past fate.

      In other words, Asians are generally mellow.

      After reading your post, I re-read the Reverend’s speech. I still find it insulting and him a racist . . . from the content to its context to the very reference of “yellow.”

      I don’t know if this is important, but it seems to be relevant here:

      My family fled China because of the Japanese invasion. Some were captured. The men were killed, the women raped then killed and the children raped, enslaved and/or killed. I know of no one captured by the Japanese who survived.

      Those who survived had escaped to Taiwan, Canada and America. Of those who came to America, several went on to serve in the U.S. military to fight the Japanese and the Germans. A few were killed in combat and one was captured by the Germans. (He was freed one year later when the war was won.)

      Although I don’t have any photographs, I’m sure those who served wore fatigues. But they wore it for America. And to fight tyranny. Not to intimidate, demand or complain.

      I know of only one who saw the war still surviving. He has no hate in his heart . . . for either the Japanese or the Germans. And he certainly doesn’t refer to people as black, white, brown, red or yellow.

      We are not crayons.

    • proreason says:

      The irony of all this is that America is a land and the U.S. is a country that was founded by people fleeing oppression and has always welcomed people of all races and creeds. No other country comes close.

      For someone like this race-baiting preacher to denigrate people of other races who have no interest in joining his cult of victemhood is to deny the fundamental basis of the country’s existance.

  10. U NO HOO says:

    Dear Gipper:

    My personal thanks to your wife and you.

    Newsflash! Lowery’s speech influenced my hometown. There wasn’t a lynching last night, not even one cross burning!

  11. Colonel1961 says:

    The Right Idiot Racist Reverend Lowery was born in my hometown. There’s an historical marker where his boyhood home once stood. I hope I don’t swerve on my way to (or from!) this evening’s happy hour and run the damned thing over…

  12. U NO HOO says:

    Mellow Yellow?

    I didn’t inhale, not once…

    Well it depends on what the meaning of “inhale” is…

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