Barack Obama speaks at the home church of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Sunday.
Barack Obama singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
(photos by Lynn Sweet)
ATLANTA, GA.—It’s a cold day this Sunday in Atlanta, so frigid (not by Chicago standards) that many churches have closed. Here at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home pulpit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the place is packed. That’s because speaking today is White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
“Atlanta, the city that shuts down when it is ice and snow, I’ve got to invite Barack Obama. I want to thank you brother,’ said the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock.
Obama sways gently as the choir behind him sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
After a hardball, bitter campaign in Nevada, that cracked open racial rifts, Obama called for unity in his speech; unity was a theme throughout, as Obama and Clinton open up aggresive new fronts in their campaigns as they both hunt for African-American votes. Their challenge is not to divide the Democratic base in their primary fight and make it impossible for a Democrat to win in November.
“Unity, Obama said, is the great need of the hour” Unity is the great need of the hour.. Unity is how we shall overcome. What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more decided to walk the foundation might start to shake."
He also told the mainly African-American audience, "And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.
"If we are honest with ourselves, We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants only as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity."
Meanwhile, up in Harlem, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is speaking at the famous Abyssinian Baptist Church, not far from the office of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Obama and Clinton head into the South Carolina primary from here, where half of the Democratic primary voters are expected to be African-American.