January 20th, 2009
12:57 PM ET
13 years ago

Rev. Joseph Lowery delivers benediction at inaugural ceremony

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a leader during the civil rights movement and former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, delivered the inaugural ceremony's benediction Tuesday on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.

Reverend Joseph Lowery.

"We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day," Lowery, 87, said in delivering the prayer.

He asked that Americans cling to the spirit of fellowship embodied at the inauguration.

"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give 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," Lowery said.


Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Best of all the speaches and prayers...

    January 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. sb

    WHITE MAN GET IT RIGHT! I AM SURE HE IS TALKING TO ALL OF YOU WHITE LIBERAL BLOGERS!!!!

    January 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Beth Capen

    I absolutely loved Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowrey's benediction. The vision he delivered through his benediction, coupled with the hymn and the scriptures that he chose to include, brought be to tears. I was extremely moved by the entire inauguration, but Rev. Lowrey's benediction was, for me, the most moving.

    January 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. UnImportant

    Does it bother anyone that 1. Rev. Joseph Lowery delivered a speech that states "and when white will embrace what is right". Does this strike anyone as offensive? It suggests that White people do not embrace what is right?

    Not to mention his views of equality do not extend to the Homosexual community?

    Troublesome choice and speech.

    January 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Tom

    What kind of racist "Reverend" is this man? "when white will embrace what is right.". Sorry rev, but "white" has embraced what is right a long, long time ago. Same old race baiting rhetoric we've been hearing for years.

    January 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Bill

    When white will embrace what is right? How about all the blacks dealing drugs, killing each other, etc. Why do only the whites have to do what is right? What a crock...

    With continued talk like this, the walls will continue...

    January 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Not an Obama Fan

    I though white already did what is right. We educated ourselves, hold down jobs, donate to charities and marry the mother of our children. If that's not right – what is????

    January 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. Adam from NC

    "when white will embrace what is right"????? Here we go, it is all whites' fault..Get ready American whites....time to be blames for everything !!

    January 20, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Brian

    Why were his racists comments allowed to taint this historic event?

    January 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. dave

    i believe it was "black will not be asked to get back". get it straight.

    January 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Rob

    idiot

    January 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Dee

    Wow...so much for uniting the nation. It's OK...soon over 50% of the nation will not be asked to give back because hard-working people like me will be asked to bleed more for those who do not pull any weight, much less their own weight, further burdening us with more taxes so more can feel entitled to their favorite programs.

    January 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. Bill

    I think white IS embracing what is right.

    January 20, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Tom

    And this offends no one? good thing a republican didnt say something like this about blacks

    January 20, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. gchat

    i'm offended

    January 20, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. Janey

    playing the race card at an inauguration? for shame!

    January 20, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Tina Wilson

    Today should have been a day when black, brown, yellow, red, and white stood as one and watched history take place.But we once again were reminded of how much more must take place for all humans to realize that we are all equal. During what could have been a great benediction prayer. we again put the responsibilty of bridging the gap to the white people instead of bonding; we were again broken into race.

    January 20, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Dave

    Wow... I was immediately offended. I'm white obviously, and it's true that there have been many white men that have done evil. However, they come in all colors and types. I'm offended that they group white's into an all evil category....

    January 20, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. jim

    I thought the days of asking black to ride in the back were far behind us. Hmm...I guess I should embrace what is right.

    January 20, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Raymond Myers

    My wife and I loved his benediction.Loved his words.Would love to have his words to reflect on. Thank you Ray & Mary Ann Myers

    January 20, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Rob

    FYI, "black will not be asked to give back" is a misquote. It's "black will not be asked to get in back", referring to segregated bussing.

    January 20, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Lori

    At 87 yrs of age, this man has earned the right to say anything he likes!! This was absolutely the most memorable prayer ever!! I say "AMEN"

    January 20, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. Frank

    got that right. Republican or democrat it shouldn't matter. That comment should upset everyone. How many more rights must be given above what I can get before its right.

    January 20, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. Tom

    playing the race card at an inauguration? for shame! X2
    So much for "change" Keep talking like that and there will NEVER be change.

    January 20, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  25. Obama is not my Hero!

    You whites need to start doing what's right!

    January 20, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
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