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“THE REV. DR. JEREMIAH WRIGHT AND THE AUDACITY OF TRUTH” BY BROTHER DR. WILMER LEON WHO DEFENDS OUR BROTHER REV. FOR SAYING THE BLACK TRUTH ABOUT amerikkka!:SENT IN BY BROTHER LOUIS ARMMAND

March 29, 2008

from Brother Louis Armmand
site articles comes from: truthout.org

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the Audacity of Truth
By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Saturday 22 March 2008

Over the past week or so, mainstream media have turned much of their attention to the fiery sermons of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. Dr. Wright is pastor to Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and his family. He was also, until recently, pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago.

Most of the discussion and commentary about Dr. Wright’s sermons have come from a predominantly white media. The points of discussion have centered on what they consider to be the “vile, racist and un-American things” said by Dr. Wright. Very few, if any, of the discussions have focused on the historical basis and accuracy of what Dr. Wright actually said.

The major problem with the discussions is they have been largely one-sided. The media have used the imagery of Dr. Wright, clad in African garb, shouting in the cadence of an old-time fire and brimstone minister and playing to the camera as a scare tactic. Has this become the “Willie Hortonization” of Senator Barack Obama? The reporting and commentary on Dr. Wright’s words have been presented from the perspective of people who either have no appreciation for the African-American historical experience or a personal agenda when it comes to presenting these issues.

Dr. Wright is under attack for saying such things as “… the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, and then wants us (African-Americans) to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no; not ‘God Bless America,’ God damn America … for killing innocent people; God damn America for treating its citizens as less than human….” These are very strong words, delivered at what many are calling a possible turning point in American history with regard to America’s willingness to elect an African-American candidate. While the mainstream media have found no merit in any of Dr. Wright’s statements, let’s examine their merit from a historical basis.

When people read the Constitution, the supreme law of the United States, they see the oldest governing constitution in the world. They see a great document that has articulated the precepts of life, liberty and happiness that all in this country try to follow. What is often overlooked are the parts of the Constitution that laid the foundation for hundreds of years of slavery and oppression for African-Americans; the constitutional framework for human beings to be treated as less than human. It’s these sections of the Constitution that America has never truly atoned for and still refuses to make right.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution stated, “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” This was known as the Three-Fifths Compromise and laid the groundwork for African slaves brought into America as forced labor to be defined as non-persons.

Article I, Section 9 allowed the importation of slaves to continue in America for twenty-one years after ratification of the Constitution by declaring: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.” This section only outlawed the importation of slaves once the domestic stock of slaves could be replenished by natural birthrates and importation would no longer be needed; again, treating its citizens as less than human.

Article IV, Section 2 stated, “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.” This was enforced by Congress on September 18, 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Act was passed, allowing Southern states to reclaim slaves that had escaped to the North.

The Three Fifths Compromise and the Fugitive Slave provisions were superseded by constitutional amendments only after their damage to African-Americans had been done and the benefit to America had been served.

It is very easy to wrap oneself in the history and glory that is America and forget that from 1619 to 1868 (249 years) African-Americans suffered under the brutality and oppression of government-supported chattel slavery. In 1857, as Dred Scott, a slave, petitioned the US Supreme Court for his freedom, Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote, “beings of an inferior order (African-Americans), and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

Even after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in 1865, the 14th Amendment granted their citizenship, and the 15th Amendment grated them the right to vote, from 1876 to 1965 (89 years) African-Americans continued to suffer under state-supported Jim Crow oppression in America. This was codified in 1896 by another Supreme Court decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal. These vestiges of slavery and oppression still plague many sectors of the African-American community, and the sense of white privilege they created continues to foster a false sense of white entitlement.

This is just the historical background for Dr. Wright’s comments. During his lifetime he has dealt with segregated schools, separate and unequal education, and discrimination in housing, employment and lending. He has witnessed civil rights protesters beaten by the police, ravaged by dogs, brutalized by fire hoses and COINTELPRO. Since his birth in 1941, an estimated 40 African-Americans have been lynched in this country. He was 14 years old when Emmett Till was brutally murdered and 23 years old when James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were killed. Americans continue to deal with racial profiling, driving while black, the disproportionate rate of incarceration of African-Americans, the suspension of habeas corpus, warrantless wiretapping and other constitutional violations.

Regarding Dr. Wright’s comments about drugs and AIDS, let’s not forget the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. From 1932 to 1972, the US Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. In his May 16, 1997, apology, President Bill Clinton said:

“The United States government did something that was wrong – deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens … clearly racist.”

With this historical understanding, it is not too far-fetched to think that the US government could be involved in similar activity as it relates to AIDS.

What has been conspicuously absent from the discussions about Dr. Wright’s comments in mainstream media is any analysis of the validity of his comments based upon his personal history and life experiences. It is very easy for white commentators such as Bill O’Reilly to dismiss his sermons as racist diatribes, since O’Reilly has no interest in trying to understand the plight of people of color in America.

Dr. Wright has also said, “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back into our own front yard; America’s chickens are coming home to roost….” Well, let’s examine the record.

The Arms Exports Control Act prohibits the president from furnishing military aid to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. In spite of all of the evidence supporting claims of the Israeli government’s human rights abuses of the Palestinian people, for FY2005 the United States provided $2.22 billion in military aid. This aid to Israel has a dramatic effect on Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. It is the US funding that pays for the guns and ammunition, F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters that are used to carry out Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and people.

According to The Boston Globe, in 1984, just after Ronald Reagan’s re-election, Bishop Desmond Tutu referred to the Reagan administration’s support for the South African government as “Immoral, evil and totally un-Christian.” Reagan ignored the rising number of Americans who were calling for American companies to stop doing business there. The president of so-called sunny optimism attempted to blind Americans with his policy of “constructive engagement” with the white minority regime in Pretoria. All constructive engagement did was give the white minority more time to mow down the black majority in the streets and keep dreamers of democracy, such as Nelson Mandela, behind bars.

History is replete with examples of the United States arranging to depose foreign leaders. In 1909, President Taft ordered the overthrow of Nicaraguan President Jose Santos Zelaya. According to Stephen Kinzer, “In Iran, Guatemala, South Vietnam and Chile, diplomats and intelligence agents replaced generals as the instruments of American intervention.” More recent examples of US intervention would be the invasion of Panama and the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Some may take issue with the earlier statement, “… the government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strikes law, …” by asking, “is Rev. Wright accusing the US government of supplying drugs to the black community?” This story has been well-documented in the 1996 San Jose Mercury News expose entitled “Dark Alliance: The CIA Complicity in the Crack Epidemic.”

I can understand people being uncomfortable with the comments made by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright. White Americans have also been lied to, miseducated and desensitized about the plight of African-Americans. With the help of the social conservative agenda, many have developed a “deaf ear” when it comes to issues regarding race. The truth, especially an ugly truth that forces Americans to examine the precepts of America, “with liberty and justice for all,” and compare them with the hypocrisy of the American reality can be troubling. For far too long, Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. Americans have believed history as told by the oppressor and failed to understand the reality of the oppressed.

Dr. Wright is not un-American. He embodies what America was founded upon, the free exchange of ideas in the public space, speaking truth to power, challenging America to be the best that it can be. The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright’s views might not reconcile with many Americans’ perceptions of America, but they must not be discarded as the ranting of an angry man. His statements were founded in the historical truths that African-Americans have and continue to live through.

———

Dr. Wilmer Leon is producer/host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “On With Leon” on XM Satellite Radio Channel 169; producer/host of the television program “Inside the Issues With Wilmer Leon” and a teaching associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, DC. Go to http://www.wilmerleon.com or email: wjl3us@yahoo.com.

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Jump to today’s Truthout Features:
Today’s Truthout Features ————– Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen | “The Clinton Myth” Three US Soldiers Die in Iraq, Toll Nears 4,000 Dalai Lama: “I Am Prepared to Face China. I Will Go to Beijing” White House: Computer Hard Drives Tossed Pentagon Rules Out Fallon Testimony Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III | The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright and the Audacity of Truth Arthur Allen | Consumers’ Right to Sue Weakening Germany Warns China Olympics at Risk Pakistan to Try New Approach to Militants ————– t r u t h o u t Home

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“OBAMA’S SPEECH COULD SEAL THE DEAL” FROM MSNBC.COM,MARCH 19,2008

March 20, 2008

from msnbc.com

Obama’s speech could seal the deal
Superdelegates will be wary of opening racial divide among Democrats

Down the ballot
ON THE TRAIL
By Amy Walter

updated 4:32 p.m. ET March 19, 2008

WASHINGTON – For months now, we’ve been waiting for the Democratic nomination contest to hit its tipping point. We’ve been fooled so many times this primary season by “phantom tips” that we’re wary of even looking anymore. Remember how Iowa, then New Hampshire, and then Wisconsin marked the turning points in the campaign? But the events of this week seem to leave little doubt that the race has tipped decidedly for Barack Obama, and that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign has run out of ways to tip it back.

Obama’s highly personal and powerful speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday, combined with Florida Democrats’ decision not to push for a revote and the increasing likelihood that Michigan legislators will also reject a revote, have cut off any remaining angles for Clinton.

It’s still too early to speculate on whether Obama’s speech will alter the way in which race is discussed this fall. Nor can we evaluate whether or not it changed the minds of undecided voters. But this much seems certain: It will affect the way in which the issue of race is addressed in the primary. And it will certainly affect the way in which superdelegates — the ultimate “deciders” of the Democratic nomination — evaluate the two candidates.

Obama put himself out there in a way that no other White House candidate has done thus far. Unlike Mitt Romney, who mentioned the word “Mormon” just once in a speech designed to address concerns about his religious beliefs, Obama uttered the word “race” more than 10 times. Instead of glossing over the issue, he forced it to the surface. He has now defined the terms of debate on both the Jeremiah Wright controversy and the larger discussion of race. While he once again distanced himself from statements made by Wright, he didn’t disown him. All of this was done in a way that looked and felt natural because it didn’t stray from the central and consistent message of the campaign: Obama is not a typical politician who is satisfied doing the “safe” thing.

Viewers weigh in on Obama speech
March 18: Race for the White House’s David Gregory readers viewers’ responses to Sen. Barack Obama’s speech on race.
Race for the White House

The speech also stands in contrast to Clinton, who noted early in her campaign that she was the “most famous person you don’t really know.” Well, we’re almost through the month of March, and we still don’t know her much better than when we started.

Obama has successfully redefined any lingering Wright talk as just “another distraction” at a time when superdelegates and Democratic primary voters have grown increasingly more concerned about their nominee’s chances against John McCain.

By now, however, Democratic insiders know that even solid wins for Clinton in upcoming primaries won’t be enough to erase Obama’s lead among pledged delegates. If Michigan joins Florida in rejecting a revote, it also makes it nearly impossible for her to come close to overcoming Obama’s lead in the popular vote.

But that’s where the “electability” argument was supposed to come in to play for Clinton. For many weeks, polls showed Obama matching up just as well or better against McCain than Clinton. But a recent Gallup/USA Today poll showed Clinton with her first significant lead (5 percent) over McCain since last November. Obama, meanwhile, remains statistically tied with the Arizona senator.

This should benefit Clinton, right? After all, her plea to primary voters as well as superdelegates has been to let the process play out until the last vote is cast, to allow for a proper vetting of the candidates. But it seems as if Obama’s speech effectively turned the “electability” question into a code word for “acceptable to whites.” If so, it means that superdelegates will be very wary of opening a racial divide among Democrats that won’t heal before November and may not for a long time to come.

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ON OBAMA’S GREAT SPEECH ON RACE,”A MORE PERFECT UNION”,MARCH 20,2008:PRESS AND PEOPLE RESPONSES FROM BARACKOBAMA.COM

March 20, 2008

from barackobama.com

Community Blogs

NEW YORK TIMES
By Christopher Hass – Mar 20th, 2008 at 9:23 am EDT

The speech Senator Barack Obama delivered Tuesday morning has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube and is being widely e-mailed. While commentators and politicians debated its political success Wednesday, some around the country were responding to Mr. Obama’s call for a national conversation about race.

Religious groups and academic bodies, already receptive to Mr. Obama’s plea for such a dialogue, seemed especially enthusiastic. Universities were moving to incorporate the issues Mr. Obama raised into classroom discussions and course work, and churches were trying to find ways to do the same in sermons and Bible studies.

… On the Internet and in many areas of the traditional news media, such a discussion was already taking shape. Some four million people watched Mr. Obama’s speech live, and it is now the top YouTube video.

The speech has stimulated passionate discussion on scores of blogs of varying ideological tendencies, and an article about the speech in The New York Times has provoked more than 2,250 comments.

… St. Edward’s University in Austin, Tex., is in session this week, and at Zak Fisher’s speech class Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s speech was discussed and analyzed, both for its content and as an example of persuasive and eloquent public discourse.

“We thought it was unprecedented,” said Mr. Fisher, a philosophy major. “We had never heard a politician be so open to the issue of race.
From USA Today:

A new genus of flower has been introduced into the 2008 presidential race. It’s a cross-pollination of disenchanted, moderate-to-liberal Republicans and the movement that is Barack Obama’s campaign.

Obamacans is what some people call them.

The list of prominent Republicans crossing party lines to endorse Obama is, so far, short but interesting. Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late president Dwight Eisenhower, tops it. Former U.S. senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island is on it, too.

… CNN.com reported that 70% of Republicans they surveyed who voted in Virginia’s primary cast their ballots for Obama.

… “The best of candidates are not always in one party,” says Clarence E. Hodges [deputy assistant secretary of State under the elder Bush's administration]. “The most moral candidates are not always in one party.”

… More than two years ago, as the buzz on an Obama candidacy was growing, I interviewed former senator Edward Brooke, the first black person to be elected by popular vote to the Senate in the nation’s history. Brooke, also a Republican, gave Obama his blessing and unintentionally foretold the Obamacan trend.

“I think he’s a very formidable candidate,” Brooke said. “He’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican, but that doesn’t matter to me.”
From Bloomberg:

Barack Obama is picking the University of North Carolina to win the national college basketball championship, John McCain was working on his tournament bracket last night in London and Hillary Clinton told reporters she needs to check with her sage, Bill Clinton.

…”Even with the rigors of a presidential campaign, there is time for March Madness,” said Jen Psaki, an Obama spokeswoman.

… Obama, 46, made his picks on a flight yesterday from Fayetteville, North Carolina, to Charlotte after Reggie Love, a campaign staffer who played on Duke University’s 2001 national championship team, passed out brackets on the plane.

A proficient basketball player himself, Obama has made a campaign habit of pre-election games after playing with friends on the day of the Iowa caucuses, which he won, and passing up a game on the day of the New Hampshire primary, which he lost.

“It really relaxes him,” said Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a regular participant and Obama backer. “We don’t talk politics. We just play ball and get a good sweat in.”
From the Erie Times-News:

Barack Obama has an edge in Erie when it comes to another measure of the Democratic nomination campaign.

Obama’s campaign headquarters in downtown Erie is up and running, signing up volunteers, selling campaign buttons and registering voters.

At Obama’s headquarters, which opened Sunday, five staff members are working out of the former Two Friends Italian Market, 25 E. 10th St., which is part of a parking garage complex. Two Friends consolidated its two downtown businesses and is operating out of 827 State St.

Signs on the windows announce Obama’s headquarters and, inside, a large American flag is draped in a space where cooks once took orders.

Andre Horton, chairman of the local Obama grass-roots movement, said the headquarters is a central place where people can get information, register to vote and volunteer. “And it’s visible. It gives our campaign a more visible presence,” he said.

It’s also a central dispatching station, from where staff members go to visit the region’s universities and other locations.
From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Ashley Baia is officially a footnote in political history.

No matter what else she goes on to achieve, she’ll be remembered, in part, as the 9-year-old girl Sen. Barack Obama spoke of Tuesday near the end of his landmark speech on race in America.

The little girl who ate mustard and relish sandwiches for a year.

“I’m a field organizer and I get to be a part of this,” said Ms. Baia, 23, of Venice, Fla., yesterday at Obama headquarters in East Liberty. “So, every day is pretty great in general.”

Being mentioned in what some predict will be one of the most remembered speeches in American political history, is just icing on the cake, she said.

“It’s a cool thing,” said Ms. Baia, quite unassuming and Bohemian prep in her khaki pants, green-and-white striped Oxford shirt, tan pullover V-necked sweater and flip flops. “I just think of my story as just my story. … I don’t feel my story is any more important than anyone else’s.”

… Ms. Baia, in Pittsburgh since March 12, will be here through the April 22 Pennsylvania primary, registering voters wherever she can find them — universities, high-traffic areas, bus stops, cafes, even a St. Patrick’s Day parade featuring Mr. Obama’s opponent — and training volunteers to run phone banks, build precinct teams, and simply spread the word.

… After graduating from the University of South Florida, she joined the Obama campaign in June 2007 and since then has racked up more than 30,000 miles on her black Dodge Stratus, which she calls “Bessy,” organizing for the campaign in South Carolina, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi before arriving in the Keystone state the day after the Mississippi primary.

… “I’m happy to be here and take part in this,” she said. “To be in this moment in history.”

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Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Lawrence – “Not this Time!” This Time is Different! Today at 9:21 am EDT
Many people have express concerns and worries about the recent negative press our movement have received. On the lips of voters throughout the nation are the daily headlines cook-up by the mainsteam media. If you listen to a minute of Fox News you would think Obama was done and this election is over. However, grass grows quietly, and while we, the grassroots Obama movement, may not be in front of the camera everynight at the 6pm hour, we are nevertheless making an impact.

You see, grass grows quietly. The other day i know i cut down my yard and got every little blade, however when i came out today, there they are again…pushing thorough, thriving nevertheless, thousands may hundred of thousands of blades, back again.

My new motto and battle cry, comes from Obama’s Race Speech – Not this Time! This Time is Different! I know and you know this time is really different and we will be successful no matter how many times the mainstream media, negative pundits and spin doctors and yes even the Hillary campaign trys to cut us down, we will push through. Because the blades of hate and lies won’t keep us down, Not this Time! This Time is Different!

—————————— —————————— —————————-
Join Sunday Morning Change! An effort to heal America’s racial divide on Sunday Mornings.

Link
—————————— —————————— —————————–
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By marytnurse, rejecting AND denouncing alarmist behavior from BOTH parties!! Today at 9:34 am EDT
Those expressing concern are often not what they seem, and those recognizing this for what it is–a movement to a greater purpose, a parade of higher angels, and a rethinking of our spiritual and intellectual selves, are the truth in this country.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Peggy Today at 9:59 am EDT
Please hand write and mail notes to your super delegates telling them not to follow the urging of Senator Clinton to use Rev. Wright to disqualify Obama. He is the only one with the integrity to lead this nation now!!

Another Mom for Obama…
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By KY Kim Obama 51 minutes ago
How do you find out who are your Superdelegates?
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By OLD NJ DEM 37 minutes ago
“How do you find how who your super delegates are?”

A number have not been selected yet but the best site for seeing who they are, and who has committed to each candidate is:

Link
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By KY Kim Obama 24 minutes ago
Thank you
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By RA 18 minutes ago
Finally, a compassionate and smart conservative. See Mike Huckabee discuss Rev. Wright and Obama on Morning Joe!

Link

Mike Huckabee gets it right! What’s wrong with the other conservatives? Why can’t they get it?

Link

This is a must see video!

Link

While your there please sign and email the petitions for Clinton and McCain. The links for the petitions are at the upper right of the screen. YES WE CAN!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Mid America Mom 33 minutes ago
Hi folks- here in IL we are almost done.

The only superdelegate left is Rahm Emanuel and based on his history with the Clinton’s I am not sure when he will declare.

Mid America Mom
Moms for Obama– Link
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Matthew 25 minutes ago
Form Slate.com: Mike Huckabee on Obama

On Obama’s speech:

… I think that, you know, Obama has handled this about as well as anybody could. And I agree, it’s a very historic speech. … And I thought he handled it very, very well.

And on the Rev. Wright:

… One other thing I think we’ve got to remember: As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say, “That’s a terrible statement,” I grew up in a very segregated South, and I think that you have to cut some slack. And I’m going to be probably the only conservative in America who’s going to say something like this, but I’m just telling you: We’ve got to cut some slack to people who grew up being called names, being told, “You have to sit in the balcony when you go to the movie. You have to go to the back door to go into the restaurant. And you can’t sit out there with everyone else. There’s a separate waiting room in the doctor’s office. Here’s where you sit on the bus.” And you know what? Sometimes people do have a chip on their shoulder and resentment. And you have to just say, I probably would, too. I probably would, too. In fact, I may have had a more, more of a chip on my shoulder had it been me.

Funny how you don’t see Mark Penn or Howard Wolfson or Hillary Clinton saying things like that.

This is good.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Ken from Wagoner, OK 50 minutes ago
I am very proud to be part of this very special movement a movement for GOOD, FOR CHANGE A MOVEMENT FOR HONESTY !!
The firewall of our Democratic Party is in a simmering stage and if we do not stand up to the DNC and Gov. Dean this campaign will crash and the Republicans will be there to pick up the pieces !!
Hillary Clinton could care less, her very base is HYPOCRISY and will turn all of our victories into negatives !!
We Must Stand Up !!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Terry from Roark, KY 10 minutes ago
Hey Mathew, your right in away, but, that was in the 50s and 60s, a time when we were born, you cant blame us, innocent people for what someome did befor us, i understand what you are saying though.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Desert Dove Dan 2 minutes ago
Maryt, that was beautifully said. Bravo!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Charmona from Centreville, VA Today at 9:42 am EDT
Thanks Lawrence. I needed to hear that. Yesterday I heard Bill Maher talk about Obama as the Jackie Robinson of politics. It was a good comparison because Obama has to be PERFECT! So if people can’t find something that he did wrong we have to say his pastor is the bad seed, even though they know they have not heard Obama utter anything close to that. But MSM is like how do we know he hasn’t been swayed or convinced by that rhetoric. But then in the same breath of raising that question, MSM will say how eloquent Obama is, but Obama is not a racist.

I am tired of this man being held to a different standard. That is the way ALL black folks have lived our lives. We were always told, you have to be the best to even become close to being considered equal. BO is the best! This nomination is so close! But I have to tell myself, not this time. This time will be different.

I mean the double standard of Rev. Wright vs Falwell or other conservative ministers is outrageous!! The idea that the news continually puts the thought that “Obama had his children listening to this hate” is perpostrous! When we know that the black elite, (even Oprah) have attended this church over the years. Did it ever occur to anyone about why the black community is not nearly as outraged by the words as the white community? That is part of the difference in the races. We don’t see everything the same way and unfortunately for BO, he is running for President where the standard is already set of how anything should be viewed. That was one point I liked about the Cooper interview last night was the view of Patriotism. BO said that it is been defined in boxed terms and that he sees it differently. My heart tells me we will win, but just in case we don’t I am proud that no matter what, BO stayed true because at the end of the day he is the one that must look in the mirror.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Obama All The Way Today at 9:47 am EDT
I totally agree!

What a darn shame that in 2008 we still have so many people filled with so much hate and are being so unfair and divisive regarding a few 15 second sound bites, take totally out of context, from someone who is not Obama, nor speaking for Obama. There are a ton of under-educated and uninformed white people who will never appreciate or understand a non-white experience in this country, especially from the 50s, 60’s, etc. I’m so disappointed with many people, especially those who consider themselves good Christians, who can even begin to try to understand Wrights context or his experiences that may have shaped some of his comments. Christians should bve more understanding and forgiving and by all means not blame Obama or not vote for Obama simply because of this right-wing (Hannity, Rush, Bill’O) smear, slash ‘n burn hypocritical and darn right wrong campaign that strokes those racists, bigots, and plan uneducated white Americas who are basing things on fear and misunderstanding and log held stereotypes.

If you are one of the people that would NOT vote for Obama only because of this smear, than shame on you. Look in the mirror, look at your big glass house. No wonder we are always stuck with uncourageous, “do anything, say anything” politicians. This country and our system is such a mess right now and we don’t care. We are feed by the media and react like stupid sheep.

The hypocrisy, double standards and in the case so much higher standard being demanded is crazy. But again that proves how far WE HAVE NOT COME and how racism and fear is still so alive in the shadows in this country. We have a bi-racial man who has so much to offer this country and has treated us like adults, rather than mindless sheep, who have been so much more transparent, open and honest than Hillary or McCain can ever be, and yet we still turn away. We are so weak.

America this is our chance to turn a page. I hope you all look beyond the spin, smears, hate, fears, and everything else that would cause you to be twisted by this stuff.

OBAMA such an amazing leader and human being.
deleted comment
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Deborah from Martensdale, IA Today at 10:23 am EDT
I can only tell you why I support Obama. I knew about his church last fall when I worked on his campaign in Iowa. I was worried that it would be an issue and knew in my heart that it could upset a lot of people. In my opinion, his speech was from his heart and I believe and trust in this man to lead our country. He stands head and shoulders above the other candidates in integrity, honesty and compassion for others. I hope you will keep listening and keep an open mind until it’s time for you to cast your vote. Listen to your heart and follow it.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Catherine from Riverdale, IL 20 minutes ago
Dear Back to Nader….
There are numerous churches in the world. We can all name many who do not talk like Rev. Wright. I am sure you can name many, but can you name a church that developed a person who is actually presidential material? Has your church done that? Maybe Hillary’s church has….

Hmmmm, do you know anything about her church? Is it possible, that she has a quiet church that promotes fear? The problem with that is that fear is the opposite of faith. Do you think that destroying the faith of the people is right? I don’t.

Sadly, if she wins the nomination…you may well get what you want. Our country, which has been honored so greatly will probably end up at war.

The independent vote will probably be outstanding because we, who would have been voting for Obama are not just Democrats. We are Republican and Independent as well. We will vote, but it won’t be for her. I hope you are prepared for 100 years of war. Certainly that is more honorable that a candidate who will not treat his pastor as a disposable person

I saw Cheney on TV last night. He was told, that many more men would die. He answered, “So what?” Of course, though, we should not consider that because he has a great pastor (does he have a pastor), and Cheney is an honorable man.

Hillary does not know how to run her own home (Monica Lewinsky), but since her preacher is “nice”…does that mean we should vote for her?

WND Exclusive ELECTION 2008
Clintons to face fraud trial
Judge setting date, testimony to include ex-president, senator
Posted: February 19, 2008
11:27 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Peter Paul and President Clinton (Courtesy Hillcap.org)

While Hillary Clinton battles Barack Obama on the campaign trail, a judge in Los Angeles is quietly preparing to set a trial date in a $17 million fraud suit that aims to expose an alleged culture of widespread corruption by the Clintons…

You may find the whole story at these links

Link
Link

I will not pursue Hillary’s woes any further, it is depressing to consider all that she has done. Certainly, she is an honorable woman, despite the fact that she went into business with a felon. It doesn’t matter, right? She has a great pastor (wonder what his name is?)Oh well, go figure.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Angelene from Pompano Beach, FL 17 minutes ago
I’d like to say this as an African American. Many times in my life, I often asked myself why some of the things I have said or done bothered white people so much. I really mean this from the bottom of my heart.

We are all different and we really need to take a look at somethings with an open mind and a willingness to understand. Put yourself in someone eles shoes and walk one mile, then maybe you will be able to understand.

There were times when I would say things and white people would look at me like I was crazy. I find that one of the reasons are that Blacks have a tendency to be open, raw, and forward in speaking things that other people may not feel comfortable with even though they may feel the same way privately.

It seems to me that most white people (just an observation) are taught to be sensitive to certain things, that a black person have not. We (many of us) have been taught to tell someone how you feel regardless of how they feel as long as you tell what you see as the truth. I find that many of my white associates really don’t understand why I would open and honestly say certain things, but it is truly my inner feelings that I am sharing, especially in personal matters.

I have asked questions of white people that have shocked them greatly becasue I would ask such a question, it is not that I was trying to be rude or anything like that, it was that I was asking an honest question to receive an honest answer, but they appearently felt was inappropriate.

Not all of us were taught to ask appropriate questions, or what others felt were appropriate, we were taught to ask what you want to know, not that there is a limit to those questions.

When I put it all together in my mind, I think Barack did exactly what I would have done. I would not walk away from my pastor because someone else feels I should.

This is a man that has been critized for wanting to talk to our enemies, which is why many of us support him, now you are saying that he should walk away from his pastor because you do not agree with the pastor’s personality. What a double standard.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Gloria “Hussein” 7 minutes ago
Nader,
Get real. I’m sure you have people in your family/neigborhood who say things that are racially negative. I am black and I have older relatives that have said things about white people that would curl your hair. My grandmother grew up in a time where black men were lynched for not being able to pay a grocery bill. So why should any white person be surprised that blacks are angry.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By scott Today at 10:24 am EDT
I don’t believe you “get it”. I urge you to take 30 minutes and listen to Obama’s speech on race. I think if you listen carefully, you will change your mind. You are in my thoughts today.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By CK Educators with Obama 57 minutes ago
Yes, it’s all very curious how the corporate media has so ‘investigated” this matter and the general public is so aware of the many “details” of a few seconds of one man’s sermon-a man who has no legislative/judicial/or executive power within the government that supposedly has been called upon to represents us.
-yet we still have no idea where the billions of dollars (your tax dollars) sent to the nation of Iraq and American mililtary contractors are unaccounted for-have gone in this SIXTH year of this disasterous war.
-nor do we know why so many of our returning veterans are intentionally being denied tuition payments and medical benefits even though they have served their country and fulfilled duties as agreed upon at the time of enlistment.

yes…the corporate media has done its job…
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Christopher Hussein Hart, Ph.D. 50 minutes ago
I beg to differ. Obama is THE ONLY candidate that is fit to lead our country! Hillary is corrupt, immoral, incompetent, dishonest, stupid, lacks good judgment, and an embarrasing two bit excuse of a democrat. PERIOD!

Obama 08!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By 47SouthernWhiteMale 47 minutes ago
I don’t think it is ok to judge anyone for voting or changing your mind. I remember a passionate Republican supporter and Pastor telling me I should throw a brick through the window of a house on my street with a Kerry sign in the yard. The one change I would like to see in 2008 is a resurgence of tolerance in America. This is why I support Obama more than any other reason and I support your decision to change your mind. :)
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By JL from Plattsburgh, NY 46 minutes ago
So in your mind to be a better politician Obama would have had to throw Wright under the bus? To do this, as Obama said, would be like to dismiss his own grandmother. Weren’t you listening? Every person has a family member or an acquaintance that says ridiculous things but if you have any type of real relationship with that person you don’t thrown him out the window out of political expediency. That says a lot about Obama. He is a man of character and integrity. A stand up type of guy. Period.

What I find refreshing about Barack is precisely that he does not play with the traditional political playbook. In his speech he gave the reverend’s words context to enable a wider discussion on racial division in this country, which is really the issue. He turned a bad moment into a teachable one. Took lemons and made lemonade. We’re not perfect and neither is he. We can’t blame him for Wright’s comments, many of which, although said in a coarse way, do reflect the thinking of many people of color and in no way can be compared to the racist diatribes we hear from the likes of David Duke. Now, there’s an issue for discussion: the difference between the anger expressed by victim and victimizer.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Tamsin, whose conscience will only allow a vote for Barack Obama even if I have to write his name on the ballot! 46 minutes ago
Hi back to Nader. Barack is not saying that nothing is wrong, he is saying that we can’t just give up on anyone who has ever said something hateful or resentful or ignorant. And Rev Wright is so much more than those few clips. After 36 years of ministry there are only several minutes of hate speech. Reread the Hebrew and Christian bibles–they might surprise you.

My father is a retired Minister and has said many controversial things in the over forty years of his Ministry. He organized student groups against the war at Kent State, we were shot at when we lived in Midland for our anti Vietnam war protests. Much of his congregation disagreed with him vehemently. But he said, that they joined the congregation–not the Minister.

When people we care about disappoint us or act in a way that is destructive, we can choose to stay in relationship–to help them in the process of restoring themselves back to their humanity. It is the brave, caring, mature, and loving thing to do.

We have been fed a steady diet of fear for so long that even though it is bad for us we keep eating it. We have been told to fear the blacks, the gays, the muslims, the terrorists, the weapons of mass destruction, the welfare mothers, the immigrants, the “other”. And now Barack has been lumped in. We are supposed to fear him now. And every time the fear doesn’t stick to him they try a new angle.

The truth is that Barack is an example of what is best about our country. His story is the American dream made real by hard work, fine moral character, intelligence, family values, and sacrifice. The change that he is calling for starts within each of us. Are we ready to stop being guided by fear, cynicism, scarcity, conflict, greed, and meanness?

Please, search your own heart and mind. Read his speeches, read his books, think of your own life experience. The world as it is now is broken. A simple, decent way of life is out of reach for most of the human beings on this planet. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Whatever choice you make, do not let it be guided by fear. Be brave. Follow love and hope and compassion.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Laura from Norman, OK 45 minutes ago
I don’t think it means that your any of those things. Look, no one is perfect, period. What you have to decide is this: is this inperfection, the one they have been able to make a big deal out of, is this a deal breaker for you? Does this far outweigh all of the lies, mud slinging, manipulating and flip flopping that HRC has done? Do you really want to cast your vote for Nadar, who lets be honest, doesn’t really have a chance. When you step back and look at Obama as a whole, is this so great an offense to you that you can’t continue to support him? The sum is greater than it’s parts, we all have inperfections, we have all made mistakes and grown from them. Just continue to think about it.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Karen Hussein in Delaware 40 minutes ago
Okay, so now Obama is not perfect enough for you. Are you also one of the millions of Americans who believe Ronald Reagan was a great president conveniently forgetting the fact that Reagan conducted a secret war in Nicaragua without the knowledge or consent of the U.S. Congress? If Obama’s greatest flaw is that he went to church every Sunday and listened to a pastor whose views are out of the mainstream, and extreme, etc., then I will take Obama. Cut me a break. People like you will never find a candidate who meets your overly-exacting criteria. Go to Nadar’s web site and knock yourself out.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Candi J 39 minutes ago
Obama is not saying there is nothing wrong. Please listen to the speech again but with an open heart and mind. Obama did say Rev. Wright’s comments were wrong and divisive but that is not all of who Rev. Wright is. The MSM has taken comments out of context and played them over & over so we will think that is the only kind of sermon he ever preached. I guess I view my realtionship with my church as a marriage. I am not always going to like what happens but I don’t believe in church “shopping”. If I want to make a difference in my church, I need to stay in good times and bad. Do you remember that Barack doesn’t believe in distancing ourselves from others just because we don’t agree with what they say and think? Look at what is in common and what good can come. He told you in that speech that Rev. Wright is like family. Would you kick a family member to the curb for not agreeing with you? For saying wrong things? If so, then I guess I need to kick my father to the curb for still using the “n” word and having views on race & politics that differ from mine. Instead I choose to love him & continue to talk to him about why I am supporting Barack. He is beginning to listen.

Barack’s whole speech was about how there is something wrong. There is something wrong with race relations in our country and it won’t be fixed with divisive comments like Rev. Wright’s or like those from people like my dad. We need to stop these comments and dialogue about our thoughts, feelings & viewpoints on race. What is good about all people of all colors? What good can we accomplish together? I have to cut this short. Forgot about a meeting. Sorry but please don’t turn away. Any step we make that brings us closer together is a step in the right direction.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Nick from King of Prussia, PA 36 minutes ago
The fact that you are on this site trolling masked as an Obama supporter is proof enough you weren’t. Your comments are almost a direct recitation of Pat Buchanan. You have no idea what was said in his church. Think a bit. The first “bad” comments I have seen were in 2001-2002. Maybe September 11th brought something out of Wright. Fact is we have no idea what and when things were said. It could be 3 times in 20 years or 3 times per week. What we do know is that Obama is his own man and believes different. I have grown up with family who are racist and in 30 years guess what, I have not disowned them, I disagree, and their opinions don’t define me. Go watch H+C.

Nick
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Mary from Los Angeles, CA 14 minutes ago
I am an African American Christian and I go to church in California and my pastor frequently says things I do not always agree with. I receive what my spirit agree with and do not receive what my spirit do not agree with.

Most people do not understand our culture and therefore many ask why did he not leave the church, black folks do not leave their church irregardless of how bad it gets because our church is like our family. You do not disavow your family.

Everyone should e-mail Sean Hannity and tell him to stop the hate@ hannity@foxnews.com.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By ken matthews southern california 34 minutes ago
please get a profile.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By California Sharon 31 minutes ago
I wrote to Anderson Cooper today, asking him to do a full segment devoted to Religion and Politics. He can call it “The Religion Card.” While we profess to separate church and state, we know that in reality, America has played “the religion card” in presidential campaigns from JFK to Romney. Yet, I can’t recall seeing the religion card played so insidiously as we’ve seen in the last week against our fine candidate, so let’s challenge them on it. Write the media and tell them you want a full, open and unbiased “equal time” presentation, including supporters or advisers like Falwell, Graham, Parsley and others. We need to ask ourselves why we play the religion card when evaluating whether a candidate is fit to lead the country on health care, economics, foreign policy and all of the other challenges that face us?
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Rosalind 30 minutes ago
Back to Nader? from Philadelphia, PA,

I know you have heard the endless loop of Dr Wright sermons that have been played but please listen to this one. Maybe this will give you a different insight of Dr Jeremiah Wright.

After Sen Obama sitting there listening to this sermon wrote one of his best selling books entitled ‘The Audacity to Hope’.

Link
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Michaele 22 minutes ago
You are free to go back to Nader and forget that the change we seek will not be easy. If you want a perfect person to vote for, maybe Nader is your man. But, I am in this movement for the long haul. I read Barack’s books and did not see a perfect man. I did find the hope that will give my son and my future grandchildren a new pride in America and the opportunity to live in peace.

John McCain will not bring that to America or the world.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Alice Tina from Indian Trail, NC 21 minutes ago
Back to Nader? If you are going to let a 30 second sound bite influence you not to vote on Obama what does that tell you? Being a part of a church for 20 years does not mean that this pastor spoke of these things for 20 years. That makes NO sense. I am sure that this pastors whole 20 years have not been about saying those devisive things. I believe that this is a isolated incident. When you join a church it is bigger that the pastor. You develop relationships with the childrens ministry, the womens ministry, outreach ministry and it becomes like a family. The Pastor may say controversary remarks but maybe not to that extent and I personally don’t believe that Obama was at church everytime the doors opened I believe that he casually went to church and did not hear those harsh statements. If you really ever believed in Sen. Obama I don’t think you would allow what someone else statements be imposed on Sen. Obama. The fact is that Obama did not say those things and we have to let Sen. Obama denounce the words and not the man. The bible tells us “HE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE” and it says that “ALL MEN HAVE FELL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD” I further believe that any true man of God could not condemn the man. The bible tells us to hate the sin and not the sinner and I believe Sen. Obama has shown that he truely loves God by following the the word of God and not man. You see when you really love God then you follow his word. Obama has shown true leadership.

I ask that you please stand…
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Solicitor 13 minutes ago
Back to Nader? Please do. I bet we can hold you responsible for every wrong thing any member of your immidiate family has said or done since you were born. Is that fair game I ask you ?

It is one thing to raise valid concerns about an issue but it is quite another to reach a rather dumb and self rightous conclusion. I reapeat if you must go to Nader Please do.

Solicitor
Uk
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By silent voice 54 minutes ago
Charmona,
Very wise words. Please don’t even think we will not win. Nothing in life comes easy. There will be more hickups on the way. Ever generation has a leader that sets the said generation on a path. The days of HRC and Rev.Wright there was so much anger. We all know. It was and has to this day been a polarised world community. Until our generation, in general, and our political campaign produced a messiah that has the courage to address it. Ours is the most tolerant, most culture concious in the history of mankind. That is what the HRC generation lacked. I think race is an issue very important to address if America wants to change. That is what Barack is running for. He needs the power of the presidency to deliver us from this historic bundage. Out of many we are one, pledging allegance to the stars and stripes. Our generation will be the rock of mankind, for we will with our leader, establish a purpose for generations to come. Enough, with all the fighting, racial anger, resentments, and what have you. We are a modern generation, prepared to solve the problems our fathers created, for the good of our children, and our childrens’ children. We should show our father’s generation the light to unity for a common purpose. Their generation barked at, and bit each other, thats what their reality required in those days. The negative attacks about race, is evidence thats all they know. It is clear to see, Barack does not know that way, he is not with that generation. They are hurting our leader with outdated mentality. I have a caucasin wife with kids. Beautiful feeling it is. Our generation has to stay on course. The road to unity, and reconsilliation, education of those brothers and sisters who still carry the old ways in their heads, for we are all one. God bless y’all.
Silent voice
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Elyse 51 minutes ago
Charmona, I posted a personal blog today on a similar topic. I tried to find your account to send you a message about it. Couldn’t find it quickly. So I’ll try to figure out how to post it here as a link [be patient -- I'm 50! =)] I’d really welcome your input and insights.

Link

If the link doesn’t work, I’m Elyse in South Elgin, IL
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Karen whose family is also “of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents” Today at 10:00 am EDT
Thanks Lawrence – that was a great first comment for the day. I love it – grass grows quietly!
deleted comment
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By waterprise2 Today at 10:10 am EDT
In that case, please go somewhere else and rot!!
Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By BahamasForObama08 27 minutes ago
BAM, sucker! (Such an irritating pimple on my @$$ right now – sorry.) : B
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By CeCe 50 minutes ago
I don’t believe that anyone believes that you are under-educated and hate-filled. Obama was at the church for 20 years. Every sermon was not like the one that you heard. There has been no evidence that Wright is racist or un-American. We can disagree with the government and with actions that have occurred and still be loyal to our country.

I have lived in America for 33 years and I don’t agree with A LOT of things that our country has done. I speak out against them to a great deal, but that does not make me un-American.

Obama is not a bad politician. He is a human politician. There is a difference. He said that he wanted to bring change, to rise above. And he has done that; maybe not to the degree that you would have liked. But he has done it nevertheless. Why does America feel that he has to be “perfect”? Is it because perfection can never be reached and we just have to have a reason to dislike or distrust someone?

I’m sorry that you disagree and I’m sorry that you feel misled. I hope that you will find a resolution to your feelings.

You are correct. Things do rot quietly which is to explain the attitudes and emotions of many people who are taking a speech about the need for unity and taking issue with one or two sentences.
Yes, things do rot quietly. You may be an example of that idea.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By greenparty4barack 49 minutes ago
Back to Nader for Rev. Wright. Ha nice profile! come back when your interested in real VIABLE change for this country. otherwise, your wasting time coming here to act like a rightwing smear technian… your not very good at it.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Christopher Hussein Hart, Ph.D. 46 minutes ago
Then you are in the wrong place son!

Obama 08!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By DenHusseinforObama MA 8 minutes ago
Ok Guys,

I think we have given Mr. Back to Nada enough fame and publisity in this blog.

And it looks like he is enjoying being in the spotlight. Must be very cold and lonely in the other blogs!!

So who’s up for change?

Anybody knows the wherebouts of “The Closer”

Michelle Obama?!!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By For Change 13 minutes ago
So why are you here again? Doesn’t Mr. Nader need you assistance?
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Scott from Corona del Mar, CA 8 minutes ago
Valid counter. Grass can be cut down quickly as well, especially with Reverend Wright pushing the mower.

It is important that supporters and campaign stategists confront the reality of Wright’s disasterous impact on the campaign and compose ONGOING attempts to mitigate the effects.

Link

There is widespread discussion of how 20 years of personal association could not have revealed these maniacal tendencies, (lunacy is not an intermittent disorder) and are being authored by persons capable of independent thought. Just imagine what the other 75% of the electorate is thinking.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By LW Today at 10:01 am EDT
Yes, and we all know that grass grows up THROUGH the sidewalk! At least Obama grass does!
Mr. Obama – Get On TV! | Report to Admin Reply
By Seth Today at 10:01 am EDT
Mr. Obama should appear on some shows like SNL or Jon Stewart just before the PA primaries. Get the word out!

Go, O!
Re: Mr. Obama – Get On TV! | Report to Admin Reply
By Courage 2 Change 36 minutes ago
He was on Anderson 360 last night and he will be on Larry King Live tonight. I don’t think most people decide who to vote for based on News anchors opinions. Most people are independent thinkers and they will based their decision on who to vote for based on where they are on issues, like the Economy, Healthcare and their views on the war. What people fail to realize is despite the Reverend Wright controversy … Barack has not changed his postion on those issues. For anyone to cahnge their alliance, based on someoneelse’s “words’ is folly.
Re: Mr. Obama – Get On TV! | Report to Admin Reply
By Joe Ruwe 23 minutes ago
I love it! Obama is the clear front runner. Obama is the clear leader in delegates. Obama clearly has the most impressive grassroots campaign ever run in our history. Obama clearly has raised more money than any political figure in history. Obama clearly has the support of the “little guy.” Obama is clearly superior than his opponents. Obama very clearly is not a divisive figure in politics like his opponents. For people who are afraid of an Obama Presidency, for people who are fearful of this man leading us – clearly the divided thoughts are in their own mind.
Obama will be the savior of our damaged nation. It is only natural that the people of the status quo and the biased, crooked corporate media who have gotten America to this damaged and horribly embarassing point in our history would resist his beautiful, inspiring campaign.

All the while, the grassroots is growing, the money is flowing in and Obama is changing the world, one person at a time. Take that trolls!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By MI4Obama Today at 10:08 am EDT
Funny thing happened on the way back from a bridal shower. I was talking to my white, evangelical Christian VERY conservative sister (who is married to an even more white, even more evangelical and more conservative man!) and she says “We are supporting Obama”. I just about swerved off the road. She goes on to say, “I saw on Meet the Press the presidential scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin and she was talking about how to determine if a president will be a successful president or not. She said that you can determine it by how he runs his campaign.” She then went on to say that Goodwin says that a great president cannot be predicted by his/her experience or even his/her intellect, but by his temperament. For once I agree with my sister! Obama is even-tempered. He is inclusive, fair-minded, and judicious. He is a constitutional scholar who has a great respect for our founding documents AND he is a patriot and a man of character. He has brought me and my sister together (I am one of those liberal academic types), and I am sure he can bring the country together! Let us not be dismayed by the rantings of an uneducated public, for once someone becomes educated, they see the truth!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By cactusflower Today at 10:14 am EDT
Thank you for this story – one person at a time, one voter at a time, WE ARE THE CHANGE.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By greenparty4barack 46 minutes ago
uplifting story! and with an interest in american history, i think Doris is great.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Mia-NC, whose conscience will only allow a vote for Barack Obama even if I have to write his name on the ballot! 36 minutes ago
What a great story, Michelle!!! I think that’s the amazing thing about this campaign is really how it’s bringing together such an amazingly diverse group. Who would have ever thought even a few short years ago this would be possible. Thank you to you and your sister!
Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By BahamasForObama08 30 minutes ago
MI$Obama, I love your story! Isn’t it a beautiful thing that is happening in America? GF, I felt your experience with your sister so deeply because when people can change in a split second from what they were before is truly a miracle. Hugs and kisses to all in the OBAMA Family today; I feel like dancing in the street this feeling is GREAT! (God is good all the time!)
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Becky from NW Iowa 29 minutes ago
My 82 year old, southern white (with a history of repressed racism), 700 Club watchin’ mother-in-law is veering over to Obama, too. Especially after The Speech and reading it being lauded on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

(And the fact that she’s staying with us in our small house for three whole weeks and I’m doing my darndest to keep my temper, in general, can directly be credited to my efforts to emulate my Hero’s temperment. ;-)
Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By BahamasForObama08 24 minutes ago
Whoa, Becky! I feel you, sistah – lol! One love (especially to mom-in-law) : B
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By CK Educators with Obama 20 minutes ago
Just repeat…
diagree without being disagreeable
disagree without being disagreeable

mother-in-law???
wow-you’re going to need more than Obama-call in all the greats…
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Reginald Obamican Today at 10:11 am EDT
Thank you for saying note, very inspirational
PLEASE SPREAD THIS LINK | Report to Admin Reply
By Raj from Nashville, TN Today at 10:22 am EDT
Link

Today, Obama is under attack from the other end of the spectrum, accused of tacitly endorsing the Afro-centrism and deeply critical views of America expressed by his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. To those who know Obama and have followed the arc of his career, the charge makes little sense against a man they have long considered a beacon of a colorblind future
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Courage 2 Change 45 minutes ago
Amen! I agree, we as Obama supporters have to fight the good fight and it starts by not watching FOX News and Sean Hannity. There are forces within the main street media,that are working to help Hillary Clinton to gain support among Superdelegates, but it’s not working. Barack Obama has gained 48 Superdelegates since Super Tuesday to Hillary Clinton’s 9. There are also several New pundits who said, they think that without Detroit and Florida Hillary Clinton is done. There is a consensus, that The Reverend Wright controversy has done some damage, it still doesn’t change the fact that Barack is ahead in delegates, the popular vote and he is up by 700,000 in the Popular vote. The fact that Barack Obama’s Speech made You Tube History speaks volumes about our hunger for Change. We have to remember, that we still have 5 weeks before the Pennsylvania Primary, so it is better, that the controversy is happening now, rather than in April.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By John (from CA, CT, and Ireland) 40 minutes ago
People on these boards are truly inspiring!

The media is really acting shamefully in their portrayal of this whole Rev. Wright issues. Barack could not have been more succinct or clear on how he disagrees with those statements, but the media still continues it’s hit-job on him.

And for what? Because they want to keep this race going. They care not about the truth, or the news, but about viewers. But they have certainly lost me.

I think we should all tell them that they are turning off people with their antics, and false ‘news’.

Email the media – it takes 5 mins – and may make them wake up!!!

Addresses here:
Link

Let’s do this folks – let’s make a difference!!!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Mary from Los Angeles, CA 7 minutes ago
This just demonstrates that Hillary will do whatever it takes to win this election. She is dishonest and cannot be trusted.

She agreed that those votes would not count because they violated the DNC rules and when she was not coronated on February 5th she now want to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Hillary Clinton shame on you!
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Kimberly from Goodyear, AZ 38 minutes ago
Perfect analogy. Grass does grow quietly and it’s difficult to stop.

I’ve again made a contribution to the Obama campaign and have joined many more local groups to do what I can to help. I’m truly disappointed by those in the media and have to wonder how much of their views are routed in bigotry. I do hope I’m wrong but some of the commentary heard by political analysts refuse to see value in Obama’s speech and won’t cross any line to at least acknowledge its importance of saying the unsaid to try and build a bridge to American unity. We certainly don’t have unity in this country. And although I agree Obama’s pastor was wrong to phrase his anger in the way he did, I myself (at times) get angry and have said bad things about Bush and the way this country is headed more times than I can count. Just as Obama is trying to get across, my anger and bad words don’t mean that I don’t love my country. I’ve come across those people that are harping on the pastors words and I’m always quick to point out that everyone has the ability to analyze words, thoughts and ideas then come to their own conclusions. Certainly, the Republicans will have us think like Rush’s radio zealots that people just think the way they are told to. I reject this notion and I’m sure so does Obama….
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Alex Colston 35 minutes ago
Awesome statement and analogy! I made 25 calls to Pennsylvania yesterday and it made my day when 2 different people asked me how to switch voter registration from Republican to Democrat. The grass is growing back even stronger!
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By Kimberly from Goodyear, AZ 8 minutes ago
Great job! Was it difficult to make the calls to PA voters? I’m thinking about doing it too.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Joe 35 minutes ago
Very Nice Lawrence.

I love the term ‘grass grows quietly’ but persistently.
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Joe Ruwe 17 minutes ago
the more you try to mow it down – the stronger and thicker it grows back….
Re: Grass grows quietly – but grows nevertheless | Report to Admin Reply
By Dawn from Jackson, GA 31 minutes ago
Beautiful and so true. Fox is giving cover to Hillary operatives to give her the nomination with manufactured outrage over Wright’s speech. It is a disgrace. It is not accidental that Hillary has called Obama ‘unamerican’ in Michigan.

. Desperate people do desperate things. We have had a difficult week, but, Barack has remained poised and eloquent. We must all stick together, and remain focused on our goal, whatever it takes from each of us to help Barack win the nomination. I am from Pennsylvania, and we have a battleground. Rendell is stopping at nothing to put Hillary into Office. They are calling this state Ohio on steroids. “Let’s Roll”.
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By CK Educators with Obama 30 minutes ago
Sponsored by Wal-Mart?
Maybe they’ll have greeters…I’m actually shocked that Wal-Mart hasn’t installed voting machines in their stores…
Can you imagine???
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By LW Today at 10:03 am EDT
If she is making him look bad, he should offer to split the delegates 50/50, and let them be seated. If she really is worried about THEM, she should take that. If not, she can keep nothing. She knew and repeated it, so to act so dramatically is silly.
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By Victoria Not This Time! Today at 10:21 am EDT
first she said she didn’t want it remember? now the tune has changed because she’s loosing. This is her last card and her last hope to steal the election because she can’t win by votes…very clear and she’s done!
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By DianaR ILLINOIS whose conscience will only allow a vote for Barack Obama even if I have to write his name on the ballot! Today at 9:57 am EDT
It’s interesting that more states are voting in the primary than any previous year — and we talk about voters being disinfranchized???

BROTHER JESSE JACKSON ON OBAMA’S PHILLY SPEECH-“TURNING CRISIS INTO OPPORTUNITY” FROM CLIFFSCHECTER.BRAVENEWFILMS.ORG

March 19, 2008

Tfrom cliffschecter.bravenewfilms.org

Cliff Schecter’s BLOG
“…somebody named Cliff Schecter, an expert. Never heard of him.” -Rush Limbaugh

Turning Crisis into Opportunity
by GottaLaff · Tuesday March 18, 01:30 PM
7
psssts
pssst!

This, from Jesse Jackson, expresses what some of us are feeling:

“I thought it was a culmination of tough-minded, tender-hearted and a clear vision,” Jackson told the Huffington Post. “It really was warm, filling, captive, reconciling and comprehensive and it displayed real true grit. He was forthright not evasive and used it as a teaching moment in American history: America’s struggle to overcome its past and become a more perfect union. And once he made the case about the past and the complexities of Reverend Wright’s life or [Geraldine] Ferraro’s for that matter, he made the case that we are here now, but this time we will go forward by hope and not backwards by fear.”

The ability to see all points of view shouldn’t be the exception, but so often it is. It’s a gift. That’s how good judgment begins, by seeing all sides of an issue and making a sound evaluation based on actual knowledge.

Knowledge, JohnSidneyMcCain. Acquire it. Appreciate it. Apply it.

“I think American saw an even deeper and more profound view of him today,” he said. “He has turned crisis into opportunity.”

Constructive, thoughtful, productive. That’s what we want to see in our leaders, and that’s what we saw in Obama today.

Topics · Barack Obama · Speech · jesse jackson · 2008 election · gottalaff

Bucky commented about 17 hours ago:
And JJ’s “go forward by nope and not backwards by fear” is a great line.

When he’s not fearmongering himself, Jackson can be a powerful speaker.

I remember seeing him in college … at a very conservative college here in Texas (very conservative) and he had the entire audience on their feet chanting “I am somebody.” It was amazing!

Sadly, he’s wasted his talents all these years.

Bucky commented about 17 hours ago:
But Evening, I thought you were a brother … aren’t we all black now?

-

eve commented about 17 hours ago:
Everly — that’s good — I could be a brother.

David G. commented about 17 hours ago:
I just want to be tall enough to see over the steering wheel next time. D.

Kirsten commented about 17 hours ago:
Everly ( new nickname!),I want to be thinner and prettier. I already have a way with words. Not like Obama, but enough. I don’t want to be greedy.

eve commented about 17 hours ago:
In my next life I am going to be able to express myself at least half as well as Jesse and Obama.

I’m going to be taller, too.

David G. commented about 17 hours ago:
Thanks K… misery always loves company… But I believe we’re right. D.

Kirsten commented about 17 hours ago:
David G., you’re not the only one. I’m quite shocked by the fact I agree with him as well.

David G. commented about 18 hours ago:
Oh, no. I’m agreeing with Jesse? I must be losing it. D.

OBAMA SOCKS IT TO US!HIS SPEECH IN PHILLY,”A MORE PERFECT UNION” MARCH 18,2008

March 19, 2008

from barackobama.com

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Post from State Updates:
“A More Perfect Union”
By Christopher Hass – Mar 18th, 2008 at 8:16 pm EDT

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America’s improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk – to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It’s a story that hasn’t made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

“People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend’s voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories tha t we didn’t need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild.”

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity’s services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students.

Legalized discrimination – where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today’s urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicia ns, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committ ed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs – to the larger aspirations of all Americans — the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright’s sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination – and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past – are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I’d like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King’s birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organized for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She had been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and one day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn’t. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

“I’m here because of Ashley.” By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

Reader Comments Wow |
By Donnie Yesterday at 8:41 pm EDT
This speech is bigger than politics and presidents. It’s the kind that everyone should hear and will go down in history as one of the most important of our time. It’s the kind that belongs in textbooks. No politician would dare give a speech like this that I have ever heard of. This man has to be our next president!
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By Shoshana Yesterday at 8:48 pm EDT
This speech just blew me away. I believe that it will go down in history as one of the boldest, most authentic statements on race in America that has ever been made. Barack never ceases to amaze me with his integrity and I am more proud than ever to be a part of this campaign. Obama ’08!
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By S faraz from Cherry Hill, NJ Yesterday at 9:01 pm EDT
i agree ,i cant think of any other politician who could,ve given this speach,he said some bold things ,barack have said time and time again that i want to be a president who will not just tell u what u want to hear but what u need to hear .he spoke from his heart ,and iam sure it will touch many hearts.
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By Anita Yesterday at 9:02 pm EDT
This is OUR story.
and it was told by one of us.
at Last…
SUNDAY MORNING CHANGE! | Report to Admin Reply
By Lawrence Yesterday at 10:31 pm EDT
In the spirit of the Obama Race and America speech i invite you to join me in the SUNDAY MORNING CHANGE and attending a Church outside of your race and religious preference every Sunday until April 22nd and possibly beyond.

Join the SUNDAY MORNING CHANGE ….

Link

and GOD BLESS AMERICA..
Great Speech Mr. President! | Report to Admin Reply
By Corinne from Glendale, CA Yesterday at 10:41 pm EDT
Hello Mr. President! I read your speach first and then saw the vidoe posted on tis blog. I though both were great. If you get a chance to read this Barack I would like to say that what you did today took great courage. I voted for you in the California Primary and I hope you become the Democrat presidential nominee. I saw in your speach a person who understands the race issues in the U.S. I don’t think the others 2 running for president really understand what’s going on. As America and the world around us continues to evolve I really think the time has come for a new type of president and you are the one.

Thank you
Re: Great Speech Mr. President! | Report to Admin Reply
By Celine Today at 12:09 am EDT
What a wonderful invitation! Thank you.
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By Corinne from Glendale, CA Yesterday at 10:42 pm EDT
i agree donnie
Perfection Begins with the Truth | Report to Admin Reply
By Phyllis from Richmond, VA Today at 12:16 am EDT
Mr. Senator,

Just before the Iowa Caucus, I was an undecided Democrat who has a propensity to vote in the Republican Primary. Well, the night of your victory speech after winning Iowa, I cheered, cried, and praised G-d for what my eyes were beholding. That very night, I updated my facebook page with pictures of you and your family and your campaign speeches. I sent everyone in my email contact list a copy of the speech and I began to educate myself about you, your policy and your politics so I could educate others. That was then!
Today I was unable to see this speech on Race Relations live, so I visited your website so I knew I was getting the real scoop. I also tuned into the Public TV station because they a panel discussing your speech as well. Just after the comments in your speech about your grandmother, I couldn’t take anymore and decided to start writing this response.

I grew up in Nashville, and went to a High School that was made up of the old colored school and the white school that closed in the northern part of the county. In 1982 when I first arrived, we were still choosing 2 homecoming queens, one black and one white…the school was majority black. The “UNSPOKEN” reason for this was so “they” could make sure there was a white girl chosen each year. 1982 and still decisions were being made based on race, and the students had no voice. They kept us divided, even though we wanted to be one!

Here is where I am today. The truth of the matter is, there is some truth in everything we say. I believe there is a place for people like Jeremiah Wright, Eric Dyson and Cornell West. Now, I’m not saying that I agree with everything they say, but when we are forced to listen to their rhetoric, dissect and analyze it, then we are forced to see those things that we may not be so willing to face (the Unspoken). This, as I understand it is the beginning process of healing. (Acceptance)

When we are able to face that which we were afraid to face, the “UNSPOKEN”, then maybe the healing process will begin. But just when the opportunity presents itself, we go explaining away, what deep inside we know to be true. I know for political reasons
Re: Perfection Begins with the Truth | Report to Admin Reply
By Phyllis from Richmond, VA Today at 12:21 am EDT
I know for political reasons you can’t always say what you really would like to say (you call it “good judgment”) but for the life of me I can’t understand why no one can see that what Geraldine Ferraro said is just as true as what Rev. Jeremiah Wright said and what you said today Mr. Senator.

When that group of men gathered in that room to declare this countries independence from Great Britain and the King, they started by saying these words:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

They went on to speak the “Unspeakable Truths” Mr. Senator. They spoke of what they wanted, what they envisioned for The United States, and what they thought of the King, his Laws and those who represented him.

The Truth as I see it is, the divide is not really about race at all, but it’s about “privilege”. The real race that determines what we feel, think and express about each other is “green”! The Truth of the matter is, that I began supporting your campaign when I heard your statements about the war that should not have been. A war waged because of a lie told to the American people. The truth, no matter how much it hurts, is always “where the perfections begins.” So, Mr. Senator, don’t stop telling the truth now! Don’t stop using good judgment now! See, the truth from the perspective of Rev. Wright, Ambassador Ferraro, and from me too Mr. Senator! The unspoken truth is just as bad as a lie spoken for all to hear. When we can face what we fear then the healing can begin and the pursuit for perfection will continue.

Here is a quote from someone you speak of often, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

Yours truly,

Rev. Phyllis E DeGraphenreed
USN Veteran AC2
Re: Perfection Begins with the Truth | Report to Admin Reply
By Maureen Today at 1:11 am EDT
Thank you Phyllis. Every voice counts. And, I am so glad we can now get back to the positive and open the dialogue. Your experience is important and I read it with interest. The “home coming queen issue” is a part of our history. Thank you for sharing.
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By Unknown user Today at 1:53 am EDT
As a white american retiree living abroad (traditional independent voter) I must agree that this was oustanding speech… also I must note that since I grew up in Little Rock and saw the race problem firsthand, not as bubba did from hot springs while in grammer school, I can attest to what Barack outlined so well in his speech… is true today… and the scars of yesterday must be addressed to move forward… it would be nice to have a president (like barack) that is smart and honest… he is first politican in many years that I trust.. however I don’t agree with Barack on many of the issues.. but I will support him and vote for him ..because of his honest approach in this campaign… speaking about the change all of us realize must happen in Washington…this is grassroots… big part of my support comes from his wonderful family…and super wife…she is marvelous… look at the spouses of the other two candidates…wow what a difference… Barack Obama in 2008… I look forward to voting for him…. James
Re: Wow | Report to Admin Reply
By Jill from Pasadena, CA Today at 4:27 am EDT
Absolutely brilliant!

Had a driveway moment as my local NPR affiliate KPCC (Pasadena City College) broadcast his speech in its entirety.

I continue to be in awe of this man, our future President. He evoked such feeling in me I sobbed and was proud that I was listening to history being made. As a fourth generation American of Japanese descent, racial bias has a definite history with me and of course, my family (America’s Internment Camps of WWII).

He spoke of things we have routinely swept under the carpet yet has done so with the insight and understanding that his bi-racial identity has enabled him to do. These truths will help all grow and understand one another without “hang-ups”. Dialogues are beginning now that aren’t tainted with pre-tense. That’s Change right now. I know I’m here because of Ashley.

His audacity of hope has now grown even bigger wings. Thank you for your eloquent words of truth Senator Obama. The healing begins when we recognize the “offense”. Let’s continue to heal, grow and hope.

On this the anniversary of M. Gahndi’s arrest of non-violent protest we are reminded of how great leaders can emote in all of us …Change. We are one people, one country, we are Americans living in the greatest country which was founded by revolutionary thinking followed by action.

Senator Obama is a revolutionary and a Patriot. He will take action as President as an agent of Change, while embracing the differences and bringing us together. Thank you, Senator Obama. Hope is alive.

Very Impressed!! | Report to Admin Reply
By Brad from Fairfax, VA Yesterday at 8:53 pm EDT
It is so evident in this speech that Barack has such great heart and true compassion for all people that his words come second nature, We Luv U Barack! – B

Wow! | Report to Admin Reply
By Gary from Roseville, CA Yesterday at 8:57 pm EDT
I am a strong Clinton supporter, because I think she has a better chance to win in November. Having said that, I have to say I was very impressed with this speech. I have been very emotional all afternoon. That is how it affected me. I thought it was the best speech I heard about race issues since “I have a dream”.
Re: Wow! | Report to Admin Reply
By Maureen Today at 1:04 am EDT
Gary: I am glad you were moved. And, we are all moved. I heard his message for a second time and to steal from another author, because it sound so lyrical, magical thinking. This is an individual who will move all of us as we face the many struggles yet to come. And, we need this kind of leader to help us help ourselves, and face accountability and responsibility and we can do it.

So, thanks for considering another way. Another choice. Senator Obama is opening a door that we all want to step through.

Spanish version | Report to Admin Reply
By Karl from Boynton Beach, FL Yesterday at 9:02 pm EDT
Is there a Spanish translation of this speech
available?
Re: Spanish version | Report to Admin Reply
By Me from Kent, WA Today at 4:01 am EDT
Have you already tried clicking the “En Espanol” button at the top right corner of the page … it should translate the written speech hopefully :)

Amazing speech | Report to Admin Reply
By A guy in Pennsylvania Yesterday at 9:18 pm EDT
I’m an independent. I haven’t decided whether or not to vote for Barack Obama if given the chance in November. In fact, most likely I won’t. But I have to say that this speech on race in America is the most thoughtful, honest, articulate, fair, and constructive statement on this subject that I have ever read or heard. If I had my way every American would read it. Whether it will loom as large in future generations as King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or Lincoln’s Second Inaugural is questionable. But while those speeches were perfect for their times, this speech is perfect for our time. I’m going to tell everyone I know about it.

Great!! | Report to Admin Reply
By Elaine from Liberty, ME Yesterday at 9:18 pm EDT
Today’s speech was one for the history books! It was so GREAT to hear all the history talked about out loud. I am 62 years old and listened to every word this morning with my husband and my 84 year old mother. We all have been Obama supporters from the beginning. For us, today just reminds us of why we love all that he stands for. We believe he lives what he talks about. Some of our family members are black and some white, so we know where he comes from there. But, more importantly, it’s his empathy toward everyone he comes in contact with and his desire to make things better for all that has so impressed us. GO BARACK!!!

Black and White… | Report to Admin Reply
By Unknown user Yesterday at 9:28 pm EDT
Wow… Wow… I mean WOW!!

A great orator and a true leader | Report to Admin Reply
By Gabriella from New York, NY Yesterday at 9:42 pm EDT
I respect Senator Obama enormously for the sentiments he expressed in this speech. Senator Obama is a man behind which this country can truly unify in a way that I believe it has never been able to before. The issue of racial and ethnic divisions is unavoidable, but Obama is ready to take this divided country on. I’m proud to be a part of this campaign. Obama ’08! Yes we can!

The Speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Frank Yesterday at 9:43 pm EDT
Brilliant, Insightful, Facts, Candid and an opportunity to rise. Thank you Senator and future President Obama this was one of the best moments in my life.

He Did It! You Can, Too! | Report to Admin Reply
By Deb T Yesterday at 9:45 pm EDT
I felt like Sen. Obama read my mind. Be honest, I thought. Speak your heart. He did. It was enlightening and reassuring and I am more convinced that we MUST have this man leading our nation. And now WE must stand up, brush ourselves off and move on to get this man elected. Get Fired Up, Pennsylvania! Get those voters to the polls and give HC a run for her money. Let’s move this conversation back to where it began: Change we can believe in and be a part of. (I’m over 60, white, female and I support Obama 100 percent!)

I am white, I am proud | Report to Admin Reply
By Merrilee Yesterday at 9:46 pm EDT
soon to be President Obama, That was the brave thing to do. I am profoundly stirred. This will go down in History. I feel connected to you. I suddenly feel connected to the world. Your candor and love for humanity emanated from that speech. It will be read in History books. I am convinced. I have long felt that you are the one to lead this country to a new and brighter tomorrow.

I have Listened Twice & Read & Reread It | Report to Admin Reply
By AhTrini “Hussein” Yesterday at 9:50 pm EDT
I always vote, but I normally tune out politicians, as I think the prerequisite to be a politician is insincerity, but Barack amazes me with his genuine nature.

Today, I tuned in at 10:15 am to listen to his speech. I have since listened to it again and read and reread the text. I must confess, that he has made rethink, as a Black woman married to a White man, with lots of White male interactions, some of my long held opinions i.e. that White racism is endemic. He truly inspires me, and I am not a wide-eyed twenty or thirtysomething.

Our “I have a dream speech” | Report to Admin Reply
By Hopeful Janet Yesterday at 9:52 pm EDT
Obama speech today was simply amazing and profound. I read the transcript online prior to hearing it and I was blown away. The depth of emotion, candor, and thoughtfulness in this speech is historic.

Tonight I heard pundits agree and disagree with the powerfulness of the message, instead of being annoyed that they were again dividing the country, I considered for a moment that America is finally confronting our differences in this country and that is the most important step to healing old wounds and charting a new path together.

Today, I lived history. No matter what happens in this race, children all across America will learn about Barack Obama’s race to the White House and this historic speech and will be inspired to make a difference.

Interesting and Impressive | Report to Admin Reply
By Florida from Tampa, FL Yesterday at 9:57 pm EDT
I am a middle aged white guy in Florida and a lifelong Republican. I saw snippets of this speech on the news tonight and chose to come to this site and read the text. I must admit- I am impressed. What surprises me the most is how much his views on race reflect my own, how his characterizations of how we of various racial backgrounds view each other (both the good and the bad ways we do) have been echoed in conversations I’ve had with my friends- African American, Caucasian, Latino, and Asian. And yes, even my Republican and Democratic friends. What saddens me the most is that the conversations many of us are having like this around the country are not reflected back to us by our leaders in either party, nor does either party seem to be terribly interested in listening to the majority of us out here beyond the beltway. I am impressed with this man, who is probably the only one who could get away with a speech like this. I disagree with him in many policy details (hey, I am a Republican after all) but do so respectfully. I hope whether he wins the election or not, the idea he expressed- that we all need to work together to bridge the gap that so divides us if any and all of us are to prosper and enjoy the liberties so many have paid for- will be heard and heeded by not only the next occupant of the White House, but by those who sit on Capital Hill as well.
Re: Interesting and Impressive | Report to Admin Reply
By Greg from Addison, IL Today at 1:05 am EDT
I’m a middle aged white male, also a life-long Republican. I usually don’t pay attention to the political bs but all the media attention made me too curious not to check this out.

I get up between 4 & 6 a.m. making an honest effort to run a small company. I feel the responsibilities of providing a quality product, jobs for my men, and food and shelter for my family. I do feel the frustration of being the “blame” for the woes that befall others, when I have nothing to do with it. I was taught to take responsibility — for my thoughts, decisions, and actions — good or bad.

The fact that the senator was able to show understanding of both sides was impressive. I heard someone earlier say that he spoke to us as “adults” and I must agree. I didn’t feel as though he was a politician trying to get me to buy some line. He owned the issues, and that made him human.

I hate racism. I stand up for every man. I may not be blessed with the courage at every turn, but I do try to travel the right path, doing the right thing.

We’ve been given 2 simple rules. Love God, & love your neighbor. No matter what color or creed, there is only one common bond between me and my neighbor — when cut, we both bleed red.

So, if something good needs to be done, I suggest it can only be done by holding hands, feeling the pulse of that red blood flowing, and moving forward TOGETHER. If you cannot hold our hands, there is only one option possible for you — you must be left behind.
Re: Interesting and Impressive | Report to Admin Reply
By Maureen Today at 1:18 am EDT
I’m not religious, but I talked to a co-woker in WA state, who is from Florida, as are her parents, and she said today to me,and she is religious, about how don’t discount the message and learn from it. “YOu can’t dictate the message, you just hear it and learn from it” and I thought Kelley, you are so right. And, today, as all of us do, we can listen to the message and take it to heart or not. We all can take this message to heart today. Thanks Florida!

Barack Made History Today | Report to Admin Reply
By Matthea Little Smith Yesterday at 9:58 pm EDT
I watched his speech twice. I am so proud to be an Obama supporter. He IS the real thing. We need him as our president. He DOES have the wisdom and the judgment to move our country forward. We are blessed!

I dare to say his speech was as powerful as Dr. King’s, “I Have A Dream” speech. For me, that is saying a lot! Sen. Obama addressed not just the state of African Americans in America, but all Americans in America.

Sen. Barack Obama is a powerful and insightful man. I believe he will be our next President!

Thank you Sen. Obama!!
Re: Barack Made History Today | Report to Admin Reply
By Debbie Yesterday at 10:35 pm EDT
I agree! Yes we can.

Profound Speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Unknown user Yesterday at 9:58 pm EDT
The speech by OBama this morning is one of the greatest speeches I have heard on the Racial Issue. He was honest, articulate, and thoughtfully in the wording of the speech. In all the speeches I have heard from him during this campaign, this should go down in history. I think the media needs to get behind him in an honest manner as he has been running his campaign.Lets elect him……

Ashley | Report to Admin Reply
By Danette Yesterday at 9:59 pm EDT
I am here because of Ashley too.
I am here because of Ashley | Report to Admin Reply
By Luyombya4Obama Today at 12:14 am EDT
I am here because of Ashley too!
Barack Obama 08 for President 08 YES WE CAN…

Beautiful | Report to Admin Reply
By Tim McFarland Yesterday at 10:00 pm EDT
This is a beautiful speech. Of course, Obama would take the high road, and frame this problem within the larger issue of race. This is the president I want to have!

A bit of history in the making | Report to Admin Reply
By SapperOneSix Yesterday at 10:11 pm EDT
As interesting as it may be, I am currently attending a U.S. Army Equal Opportunites course. We have discussed many things including racism in America. I find it highly motivating that someone vying for position as the next commander in chief has the foresight and historical context to speak with such wisdom. We are discussing the historical significance of not only Mr. Obama’s candicacy, but his opponents historic candicacies, like Mrs. Clinton’s groundbreaking for women, and Sen McCain’s experience as a POW and combat veteran being a canditate during a time of war. It seems that no matter which of the three succeed, America will grow stronger in knowing that each will be making history!!!

Obama’s speech 3/18/08 | Report to Admin Reply
By Judy from Naples, FL Yesterday at 10:19 pm EDT
Thank you Barack Obama. I missed your speech this morning, but just finished reading it. I have not stopped crying yet. I have always been proud to be a supporter, but I don’t know if I have ever been prouder that I am right now.
I hope that every American reads this speech.
Thank you for being you.

I would feel honored if you become our President | Report to Admin Reply
By Del from Otter Rock, OR Yesterday at 10:24 pm EDT
I HOPE you make it. The US needs you. What a speech. Very moving and powerful

Great Speech! | Report to Admin Reply
By Dr. J Yesterday at 10:26 pm EDT
I admit as an Obama supporter I was a little bit worried about this one because there was so much riding on it, but I was completely blown away.
It was his best speech yet! Full of bravery and eloquence. Obama gave America a much needed history lesson at the same time as helping free us from the chains of the past. It was a speech that will go down in the history books once Obama is prez! Keep up the good work!

Our Time | Report to Admin Reply
By Corinna Yesterday at 10:27 pm EDT
I so appreciate Barack Obama’s willingness to address the dynamic of what American people actually feel, and how those feelings have been dumbed down and exploited by the national media.

I also deeply appreciate his mandate to the press, and to other politicians, to choose a new pathway. I had the thought that the speech could have been called “Not This Time”, as I felt inspired hearing that phrase, and a new sense of willingness rose through me – I felt myself shift from fatigue and cynanism, to willingness to make a difference.

My belief has been that the current national media is simply dooming the country to a level of dialogue that will continue to reinforce drama and prevent real change. Listening to this speech, I realize this as a possibility, but I also feel my own responsibility to hold a different belief – one of inspiration rather than cynacism, one of action rather than cold observation. I am ready, at age 39, to claim my generation, not as one to hold grudges about what has been, or as cynics of what is, but as a generation that steps up to participate with the best of who we can be.

I am willing to use my life to shift the fundamental structures which allow new realities to be lived. With the recent airing of the “Winter Soldier” testimonies, and the atrocities that those soldiers were brave enough to reveal, it is apparent that the stakes are far too high to merely stand by and watch the media create a circus that distracts from what is really happening. Not this time. Not this time.

Thank you, Barack | Report to Admin Reply
By ATL4Obama Yesterday at 10:28 pm EDT
I am more proud today that I am a Barack Obama supporter and MORE SURE of my vote in GA on Feb 5th now than I ever was. I look forward to voting for you in November, Mr. President.

Obama, we love you and God Bless you for your honesty and candidness about this topic.

People always want to hide from the topic of race. How perfect of you to mention that Blacks are NOT the only ones who have assimilated and hid their feelings to survive and make it through daily life with our white neighbors and friends – European immigrants did because of discrimination and because they wanted better for their children. Latinos have done it – some don’t teach their children Spanish because they don’t want their children to be treated unfairly. How unfair to have to surpress your culture, language and your own true self to fit in to a society that hampers who you are.

Because this assimilation has not ceased for Blacks, and is in FULL FORCE for Hispanics today, Black people see in Barack someone who is true to himself, to his white past and is still a true leader of all. Neverthess, people all of a sudden want to believe that race is an non-issue. It is a HUGE issue. It is one that we could discuss in roundtables all over this country for years and years, in tears, shouting and hugging one another — simply because it has NEVER been in the limelight like this. I applaud you and I support you.

Since the 1700s, we’ve been led by the “Good Ole Boy” system. People want something different. People need you, Barack. We need this country to change, in so many ways.

I pray that the Lord protects you and keeps your family. I pray that the Lord will cover you and carry you to the White House, where you need to be, because this country is in need of HEALING. I pray for your stamina and your faith. You are a man of virtue and it is evident that people are trying to find any little flaw.

Stay strong. We support you. Keep the faith. Do what your heart tells you.

finally! | Report to Admin Reply
By Debbie Yesterday at 10:32 pm EDT
Barack Obama embodies a new breed of leadership that we need so desparately. He is a leader for all people. He courageously and transparently told us all what we need to hear. He is a calming force, a powerful force, a fearless force….and THIS TIME, we have a man who will be President who understands our Constitution, who knows what this country could be and who will challenge us to reach our potential in this great democratic experiment. He is already a leader and I am doing everything I can to help him get elected.

Debbie from Indiana
Re: finally! | Report to Admin Reply
By Rhonda from Seattle, WA Yesterday at 10:43 pm EDT
Today I left work to watch Mr. Obama’s speech on TV. I can’t describe how moved I was, how amazed, how proud. Can this man deliver a speech, or what? And I don’t mean like a puppet reciting words written for him. As usual he was cool and collected. His words eloquent, direct and purposeful but he also reached down deep and expressed his position with meaningful emotion. I was elated to hear his dignified explanation of his loyalty to not only his minister but also his family and his country. He went way beyond hopeful; he truly believes that WE can make a difference.

I had worried he would be pressured into apologizing for and rejecting his church. He should never have felt obligated to explain anything regarding his minister in the first place. Wow, did he bravely take it on. He opened the door and walked straight in, describing an era that few know about or remember and how subsequent events have caused us to harbor resentments that we only whisper about now.

His insight and knowledge on the subject of racism surprised me. When I first learned about his “controversial” minister, (who by the way, I agree with) I imagined Mr. Obama sitting in church listening intently as if he were in history class. His childhood was spent primarily in Hawaii or other countries with his white mother or white grandparents. His personal experience must have been very different than that of his fellow churchgoers and ministers. However prejudice toward persons of mixed race was alive and well during the period of time in which he grew up. That is a very unique experience that even fewer of us can understand or relate to.

As a 53 year old white woman on the outside looking in, I believe myself to have few prejudices. I strive to be aware and empathetic toward the struggle people of color still endure. Today listening to Mr. Obama’s speech I learned many things that I already knew but from a different perspective than he described. His wise, insightful explanation left me feeling uplifted and hopeful that it is possible for us to all reach out to one another and gladly do the necessary work to shape his vision.
Re: finally! | Report to Admin Reply
By Maureen Today at 1:27 am EDT
Hi: I’m in Bellevue, WA, and I think we can all agree that this is a leader, who speaks to all of us, no matter gender, race, religion. He has what it takes to move us to the next level and we are defintely going to need this as we move into the next few years, at least. I’m thinking of you, Seattle!

Oh, loyal one. | Report to Admin Reply
By jpoet Yesterday at 10:42 pm EDT
Throughout this political crisis, I have defended Obama as not being responsible for what other people say, in addition to discussing the injustices that cause, for many, anger in communities across the U.S.

But today when Obama used his own grandmother as a political tool— he in that moment lost my support…

For me, Obama’s disloyalty to his 84-year-old grandmother, who is also a widow, is 100 percent political.

However, despite the fact that I’ve become more cynical to Obama over the past few weeks, I still prefer him to McCain 100 percent…
Re: Oh, loyal one. | Report to Admin Reply
By Vanessa, CA Today at 12:01 am EDT
Piece of Barack’s speech regarding Rev. Wright and Grandmother:

“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.”

Question??? How does TELLING THE TRUTH about a life experience equate to using it as a political tool??? Just wondering???
Re: Oh, loyal one. | Report to Admin Reply
By DocMobley Today at 12:11 am EDT
The truth will set you free!

You must be able to be truthful with yourself – it will set you free… the good, bad, and the ugly.

Obama ’08

A More Perfect Union | Report to Admin Reply
By Angela Guzman Yesterday at 10:45 pm EDT
We need to remember that God Almighty raises up leaders for such a time as this. Senator Barack Obama has been placed in this race for a true purpose and if this purpose is to lead as president We must join our faith and like mindedness to make this goal a reality. He can’t do it by himself. Lets stop giving the media all the power!

This speech…. | Report to Admin Reply
By Shantal from Marianna, AR Yesterday at 10:48 pm EDT
Is so good. Ireally love this speech. I mean this man has said what all want to know, while at the same time he acknowledged that he know there will be plenty STILL not satisfied with his comments. The comment he made about his grandma was so interesting that I had to go back and read it to get an understanding. He was simply trying to say that what Jerimiah Wright said was not right, it was also some statements his white grandma made about some black men that was not right either, and he simple just could not dis-own his grandma. She simply felt that way back in her days, it ain’t right but sometimes thats how it is. He then said that was all part of his life. He stated he has so many different cultures within him and he tries to understand them all. All I know is life is so hard yall, and I know that it is hard for him running for president, being black, with a name like Barack Hussien Obama, and in the middle of a situation known as “guilt by association”. I don’t know about you all, but I love this man. He has taken so much. I simply love him. I hope and pray that everyone will read this speeh and really understand it. He is the most honest man. I got to go dry my eyes, I’ll be back.

Simply Outstanding | Report to Admin Reply
By Jarrett from Oak Park, IL Yesterday at 10:48 pm EDT
What words could I or anyone else add to the sheer eloquence of Senator Obama’s words. Many are comparing it to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and that is a fair comparison indeed. If these words, so evocative and inspiring in their meaning and ability to unite what has become a woefully divided and vitriolic race, do not lay to rest all doubts about Obama’s past, his patriotism and his allegiance, nothing else will. This speech may not only have quieted his critics: I think they may have clinched the nomination for him. Bravo, Senator!

Nice words | Report to Admin Reply
By Randy from Miami, FL Yesterday at 10:53 pm EDT
Yet… actions speak louder than words…

and… a favorite one…

“A man is known by the company he keeps”

If Senator Obama were really sincere and he felt everything he said today… he’d be a Republican!

There’s too much racism and anger among Democrats today… Every body can sense it… It’s in the air…
Re: Nice words | Report to Admin Reply
By FedUpFireHorse Yesterday at 11:28 pm EDT
Zzzzzzzzzzz.
Re: Nice words | Report to Admin Reply
By Michael from Midland, TX Today at 4:19 am EDT
Jesus had the same problem…

The most welcome of speeches | Report to Admin Reply
By Nancy Yesterday at 10:56 pm EDT
I heard Chuck Todd of MSNBC state yesterday that Obama better hit a home run with his speech or drop out of the race. Amazing! Such stupidity from the pundits is flabbergasting. Obama’s speech today was everything I knew it would be. VIVA OBAMA!

I pray | Report to Admin Reply
By Barnabas Yesterday at 10:59 pm EDT
Wisdom and truth are realities which the beltway has all but buried in “pork”, politics, and pundits.
I pray the voters of our country DEMAND the resurrection of both.

Thank you Senator Obama for not keeping this topic under a basket.!

to form a more perfect… | Report to Admin Reply
By Paul from Cohutta, GA Yesterday at 11:02 pm EDT
probably the most honest political speech i’ve heard in decades. it’s stunning that i’m blown out of the water just b/c a major political figure did not spin a major issue to further his/her own agenda. more than ever, i believe that Barack Obama is what this country/world needs.

Amen!!! | Report to Admin Reply
By Wayne from Avon, MA Yesterday at 11:04 pm EDT
This speech unveils the cover which has hidden the truths of anger of both Blacks and Whites in this country!
It is time for all of us to work together for the good of all Americans. Thanks Senator Obama!!!

a beacon of hope | Report to Admin Reply
By zoe Yesterday at 11:07 pm EDT
Obama is a beacon whose light should never dim.

OBAMA ’08 for CHANGE – for ALL of us.

Amazing Speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Jan from Nashville, TN Yesterday at 11:10 pm EDT
My longtime Republican father called me today after the speech and said it was the best he had ever heard. He said he was crying during the speech–I was, too. He got so angry at Pat Buchanon’s negative take on the speech that he sent an email to MSNBC asking them to fire the guy. We are both so hopeful that Barack can prevail.
Re: Amazing Speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Mike Yesterday at 11:21 pm EDT
This speech was simply AMAZING!!!

I for one am amazed everyday by this man. Thank you President Obama!!!!!!

honesty and passion | Report to Admin Reply
By Linda from Las Vegas, NV Yesterday at 11:14 pm EDT
The speech was full of honesty and passion..After reading it I had to listen to the yes we can song..All people of these United States should be proud of this man. He’s done what no other is willing to do..We tend to believe the theory of if you don’t speak on it,it won’t exist. We all know that isn’t so. RACISM needs to be discussed. What he said about us speaking inside the home but,not in the work place is so true. And that is for all people not just whites,blacks, hispanics,asians and others. It’s the forbidden topic.Sen Obama I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.Very moving.

the speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Bob from Noble, OK Yesterday at 11:14 pm EDT
I didn’t watch but I read. Very good. Fair and balanced. I will not vote for Obama or Clinton…there are other issues that I feel to strongly about to ignore…I think I have that right and can hold my convictions and vote for McCain without malace or disrespect toward those who disagree.

I believe race does matter….it matters in a very good way. Every race is unique, wonderful and brings something fantastic to the table. One color is just not enough to paint a beautiful picture.

Racial diverstiy is amazing and satisfying. The common bond of our shared humanity is glorius, undeniable and compelling. We are all equally human.

I am sorry that prejudice still exists. It very well may live in all of us to some degree. Much regrets.

My best to all who read. Blessings, Bob

Thank you! | Report to Admin Reply
By Suzanne Yesterday at 11:20 pm EDT
I have been teaching predominately African American students at a small urban college for most of my adult life, and this speech has captured the ideas, emotions, and dreams I have as a result of my experiences better than I could have ever imagined. My students and I have been able to bridge the racial divide in our classroom discussions and address many of the issues Barack addressed in his speech today, but I never imagined that a politician would address them in the way that he did, and I am so grateful that he did.

When I heard Barack Obama speaking at the 2004 Democratic Convention on my car radio that night, I couldn’t believe my ears. That very night, I like many people thought “could we really be lucky enough to have a person like this become our president some day?” After that night, I read everything I could about Barack including both of his incredible books. Each time I read something or heard him speak, I thought “I can’t believe he is actually living up to my greatest hope — that a politician could actually be thoughtful, honest, and even wise.” This speech has completely cemented my initial gut feeling about Barack Obama. This country desperately needs him as our next president!

THE GREAT GENERATION | Report to Admin Reply
By Wilda Yesterday at 11:21 pm EDT
Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that generation. Let your greatness blossom.

Nelson Mandela, London, 2005

Senator Obama,
Thank you for leading the “great generation”; it can’t be done without you!
Re: THE GREAT GENERATION | Report to Admin Reply
By Vanessa, CA Yesterday at 11:47 pm EDT
I’ve said this on other blogs and yes, I’ll say it again here too…

A friend of mine, originally from China, informed me that a group of highly revered Chinese astrologers stated, in a Chinese newspaper, that Barack Obama WILL be the next President of the United States and, not only that, but also he WILL BE THE MOST IMPORTANT MAN IN THE WORLD for the next 10 years!

They know this because they read it in his charts. They say that it is mapped out in the stars. Isn’t that amazing! Now I haven’t been able to research this assertion, however I strongly believe it to be true, infact, I believe it is happening before our very eyes!

ONE LOVE to the WORLD!!! OBAMA 4 PREZ!!! YES WE CAN!!!

BRILLANT! | Report to Admin Reply
By Tina from Franklin, NC Yesterday at 11:22 pm EDT
I heard the speech today and it exceeded anything I could have ever expected, especially from a politian. Talk about courage. This just proves to me that it isn’t just about politics for Obama. I don’t think that there is anyone who couldn’t relate to this speech.
If Obama doesn’t win the Presidency it will be a great injustice.

thank you, Mr. Obama! | Report to Admin Reply
By welovetea Yesterday at 11:24 pm EDT
That was an incredible speech. I just kept thinking, “I’m hearing this on national television? Someone is ACTUALLY TALKING about this out loud and the news is covering it?” I sat and listened to it live and kept saying out loud, “Wow!”

Mr. Obama, I’m a 24-year-old white woman who cares about discrimination and bringing our nation. I do not believe in cynicism except as a poison to progress. Thank you for your speech today. It reminds me again of why I have continued to support your race for the presidency since I first watched you on a TV program in Japan, visiting Kenya and getting tested for HIV/AIDS. You rock my world and keep me fighting for justice!

I am honored to be around.. | Report to Admin Reply
By Maninder from Edison, NJ Yesterday at 11:24 pm EDT
I am only somebody who can clap from the sidelines (as I cannot vote yet) of where it is all getting enacted. But I must say I have been an ardent follower of Barack’s campaign and what he did today by way of this speech was simply outstanding!

He just opened his heart out to America. And boy, could he have come across more honest and bold? When a typical politician would have just dumped the person (in this case Rev. Wright) without second thoughts, Barack showed why he is different.

I wasn’t there to listen to Barack’s speech as he delivered it but he made me come to his website to go through it. This should go down as one of the most powerful speeches ever and I am truly honored to be around when this happened!!

Barrack you are my Hero. My next President of the United States of America!

speech | Report to Admin Reply
By christine Yesterday at 11:25 pm EDT
Senator Obama’s speech was inspiring and it showcased his character and intellect. My advice to the Senator is to use parts of it in his stump speech.

Thank You | Report to Admin Reply
By Tony Yesterday at 11:27 pm EDT
Senator Obama, thank you for your powerful and empowering words today. Thank you for helping break the spell of the media coverage that distorts what is real and important and plays to our divisions. Thank you for reminding us of what we already know, or should know. This is where we start. One person at a time, reaching across the divide to understand and empathize with and join together in a common effort with other Americans … who may have different stories, but share common goals. Thank you for taking an incident that could easily have deepened our divisions, and instead turned it into a moment of understanding and reflection and inspiration. Thank you. And God Bless!

P.S. I prayed last night that God would help you find the words to reach people’s hearts and minds today. That prayer was answered today. Tonight I will pray that my fellow Americans will open their hearts and their minds to your words, and accept your challenge to take a higher road and seek a more perfect America.

Crying… | Report to Admin Reply
By Vanessa, CA Yesterday at 11:29 pm EDT
I’ve always been a strong believer in Barack but now my sentiments are confirmed!!! Barack Obama is an ANGEL sent from heaven to help us become better people. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!! I can’t stop crying after watching his magnificent speech targeting racial relations in America. A speech that was so long overdue in this country.

I am so overcome by emotion right now! All I can say at the moment is THANKYOU GOD for sending Barack too us… We are truly a blessed people indeed to have such a man offer his soul to us. Senator Barack Obama, you will ALWAYS (most indefinitely) have a supporter in me! You speak for me, you make me proud ;o) GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS!!!

OBAMA 4 PREZ!!! YES WE CAN AND WE WILL!!!!!

Obama 08 | Report to Admin Reply
By fired up texan!!! Yesterday at 11:30 pm EDT
Obama’s speech was ASTONISHING!!! The more and more I come to know him, the more I realize how much we need him as the next POTUS!!! His speech actually reminded me of these words…

People listen. There is something that you need to know.
For too long, we’ve been fighting racial wars started long ago.
We know that there’s a difference, in the colors of our skin.
So be proud of your heritage, but learn from the lessons it gives.

Oh, Dear Lord, for us to grow, we must let go…
Of what’s been keeping us apart.
Now is the time, to put the past behind.
Together all me kind. To make a brand new start.

Remember…Love has no color, you’re by brother.
Love shows no evil, to it’s people-

WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!!! :)

OBAMA 08 BECAUSE OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT PRESIDENT

Courageous speech | Report to Admin Reply
By girlfromjamdown Yesterday at 11:32 pm EDT
I was full of trepidation when I heard that Barack planned to speak on this issue. However, after listening to all sides of the commentators, today I felt it could not have happened at a better time. There’s a whisper campaign that reveals how scared some people are of his religion and what his intentions are. By appearing on TV to address a national issue that is bigger than his campaign, the conversation continues and he is getting more exposure. This could be the opening we wanted all along. Let us not forget Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. The Moral Majority made no bones about their animosity towards gays and abortion etc. It comes full circle and Barack did not shy from the debate. Jeffrey Tubin of CNN said it best when it said it was absolutely fitting that he went head on and of course whatever the fallout is Obama has once more displayed good judgement when others would have shied away. We have many 3 a.m. issues : terrorism, black men filling up jails and dropping out of school, the high cost of basic things. Barack will take those calls.

honesty and passion | Report to Admin Reply
By Linda from Las Vegas, NV Yesterday at 11:33 pm EDT
The speech was full of honesty and passion..After reading it I had to listen to the yes we can song..All people of these United States should be proud of this man. He’s done what no other is willing to do..We tend to believe the theory of if you don’t speak on it,it won’t exist. We all know that isn’t so. RACISM needs to be discussed. What he said about us speaking inside the home but,not in the work place is so true. And that is for all people not just whites,blacks, hispanics,asians and others. It’s the forbidden topic.Sen Obama I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.Very moving.

He gets it | Report to Admin Reply
By David from Claremont, CA Yesterday at 11:37 pm EDT
I have never heard any other speaker explain the subject of race in a more even handed manner. As a white male, I feel he understands some of my concerns. However, he also has given me an understanding of the concerns of people of other races and genders. Because of Mr. Obama, I get it.

Thank you.

Keep that up and … | Report to Admin Reply
By Hank Ratzesberger Yesterday at 11:41 pm EDT
Even the cynical eyes of Bill Kristol will see the light. (Somebody say Amen).

Well if words don’t matter, then why was the Word in the beginning! (we’re talking about faith here, I’m not off topic…)

Yes, we’re enamored with thought — that an African American can talk to us open and honestly about our racial history and challenge us to take the next step, for every candidate to take that step, the step towards the perfect unity that was conceived by those “rebels” and so much heartache and lives were spent to achieve.

Senator, I don’t expect you to solve every problem, but if you can approach them as directly has you have in this speach, then you will never loose my trust.

–Hank
Re: Keep that up and … | Report to Admin Reply
By Vanessa, CA Today at 12:04 am EDT
AMEN!!! AMEN!!!! AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OBAMA 4 PREZ!!! YES WE CAN!!!!

The American People are Ready | Report to Admin Reply
By 808Livin Yesterday at 11:42 pm EDT
Great job Mr. Obama! I am tired of the smoke and mirrors of the past 8 years. I am glad someone has had the courage to stand up speak about the realities in this country. There are many challenges ahead for us but like JFK, you trust that Americans are smart enough, strong enough, and wise enough to handle the truth and then come together to overcome great adversity. You are empowering the American People to come together to achieve the dream of unity that all those who are currently living in oppression long to experience. You are taking the first steps to bringing the United States back to its rightful place as a beacon of hope for those longing to live in tolerance, outside as well as inside the United States. The American People are ready and willing to accept this challenge no matter what the media or your opponents may think. We are ready to be inspired again! If the United States can reach the moon in a decade; if our grandmothers can enter the factory to build airplanes and fly them; if our grandfathers can draw a line in the sand shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy crossing racial, religious and ethnic lines; if our fathers and mothers had to do without in order to support the war effort; I just want to say their grandchildren and their children are ready to become men and women in this new effort to reinvigorate America and restore the legacy our grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers and mothers have fought to protect and deliver to us! Thank you again Mr. Obama for working to bring the United States back from the brink!

Thank You | Report to Admin Reply
By Maureen from El Cerrito, CA Yesterday at 11:44 pm EDT
Thank You Senator Obama, for saying what has needed to be said for so long…and with an elegance, grace, and depth of personal experience that does mirror “I Have a Dream.”

As a 55-year old white woman living near, and working in, Oakland, CA I have seen many beautiful instances and relationships that demonstrate the Unity you profess. It IS possible, and we need to do everything we can to keep building on the Unity that has been built so far. Talking honestly about it helps a lot.

I hope your contributions to this country are just beginning. You have my deepest appreciation…and my vote!

A More Perfect Union | Report to Admin Reply
By La Reyna Yesterday at 11:45 pm EDT
Thank you Senator Barack Obama for your speech…You are the “Wind beneath our Country’s Wings”…I am proud to support your campaign. Let’s show the world we are the “United States of America”…We are “One” Let’s move to another chapter in American history…Yes We Can!

TO OUR NEXT PRESIDENT | Report to Admin Reply
By Yvonne R. de M Yesterday at 11:47 pm EDT
From the beginning I knew this was a man transcended the political ‘norm’. This is a speech to go down in history. Absolutely. It is so carefully nuanced, so infinitely layered, so powerfully paced, and so revelatory that I am stunned. To my knowledge, no one has ever put it this way before. Creating the context of a historically painful period (for that idiotic replaying by media and internet), of angry words his pastor said, has been just the starting point for what I hope is a new and ever-widening understanding of what simmers in all exploited and wounded people. Senator Obama went from the smallest event (his pastor’s remarks) to the largest of our realities, encompassing and expanding by that one example, a mountain of truths that so many refuse to face. And in his weaving in, of so much that is relevant to that episode, he has created a tapestry of all that is America. It is the absolutely bravest and truest tapestry that I have yet seen displayed. Bravo, Barack. How you have handled what was initially another political jab with terrifying overtones for your candidacy, turning it into one of the most moving declarations of love for this country and its people, will warm my heart for years to come, whatever may happen. You have made magic with your honesty. We will all have to face exactly where we are at this point. And with the hope you help to instill in us, we will continue ‘perfecting’. I most humbly thank you.

Printable Obama Signs | Report to Admin Reply
By Dan Today at 12:01 am EDT
I’ve put together a lot of ready-to-print 8½ by 11 inch Obama signs. Print some out and tape them up in your car, in your house, give them to other supporters or use them as signs! Email your friends and family asking them to do the same!

Upcoming States/Territories:
Indiana for Obama [ Link ]
North Carolina for Obama [ Link ]
Oregon for Obama [ Link ]
Pennsylvania for Obama [ Link ]
Puerto Rico for Obama Link ]

Additional Signs:
Canadians for Obama [ Link ]
Catholics for Obama [ Link ]
Christians for Obama [ Link ]
Educators/Teachers for Obama [ Link ]
Episcopalians for Obama [ Link ]
Ethiopians for Obama [ Link ]
Evangelicals for Obama [ Link ]
Everyone for Obama [ Link ]
Families for Obama [ Link ]
Feminists for Obama [ Link ]
First Americans for Obama [ Link ]
General Obama ’08 [ Link ]
Generation Obama [ Link ]
Grandparents for Obama [ Link ]
Greeks for Obama [ Link ]
Hispanics for Obama [ Link ]
Hoosiers for Obama [ Link ]
Independents for Obama [ Link ]
Indians for Obama [ Link ]
Irish for Obama [ Link ]
Jews for Obama [ Link ]
Kenyans for Obama [ Link ]
Latinos for Obama [ Link ]
LGBT for Obama [ Link ]
Lutherans for Obama [ Link ]
Muslims for Obama [ Link ]
Native Americans for Obama [ Link ]
Nurses for Obama [ Link ]
Obama Mama [ Link ]
Obama Ohana [ Link ]
Republicans for Obama [ Link ]
Seniors for Obama [ Link ]
St. Patrick’s Day [ Link ]
Students for Obama [ Link ]
The World for Obama [ Link ]
Veterans for Obama [ Link ]
West Indians for Obama [ Link ]
Women for Obama [ Link ]
Yinzers for Obama [ Link ]

Bookmark my growing collection of printable signs, wallpapers, images, etc. at obamamedia.wordpress.com [ Link ]. I’ve got a ton of requests and will be continuously adding signs. I expect several of these new signs will posted within the next day or so.

If you like the work I’m doing please consider helping me reach my personal fundraising goal! [ Link ]

We need to work on the Press as well | Report to Admin Reply
By Dale from Lithia, FL Today at 12:04 am EDT
Folks, as Barack so eloquently said, we have much work to do, as evidenced by CNN.com’s initial posting of the speech (links to digg.com): Link

While Barack was absolutely dead-on with his speech, he omitted one key component that I truly hope he addresses at some point: The Responsibility of the Mainstream Press. As long as the Press acts as irresponsibly as CNN.com did above, the division will continue.

For more of what I speak, please read my piece over at blogger.com:

Link

P.S. I originally wrote it here, but I don’t think anyone saw it:
Link

A More Perfect Union | Report to Admin Reply
By Teresa from Columbus, OH Today at 12:15 am EDT
I am grateful to Senator Obama for his wisdom and sincerity. I hear the voice of a real human being who understands our problems and priorities. The fear and outrage so many Americans feel in response to the mind boggling incompetence and corruption of the Bush administration is a powerful force for change. We must not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to unite the gift of Senator Obama’s leadership with the growing activism of a people ashamed of what their nation has become. Yes we can address the ways in which our government is fundamentally broken. Yes we can be a nation that stands for social justice and cares about the quality of life of its people. I pray that all Americans can connect to Senator Obama’s integrity and calm strength. Together we can thwart the greedy few who profit from dividing us. We get the government we are willing to work for. I would gladly work for an Obama presidency. To quote Gandhi, “We must be the change in the world that we desire.” It is time to send the lobbyists, polluters, war profiteers and those who would trash our constitution packing.

AOL Straw Poll | Report to Admin Reply
By Wilda Today at 12:19 am EDT
Any chance we Obamacans can cast our votes to change the ongoing straw poll running on AOL that Hillary Clinton is currently winning? The link is below….YES WE CAN!!!

Link

Wonderful speech | Report to Admin Reply
By LGarcia Today at 12:21 am EDT
Wonderful speech. I feel this is a speech ALL of us should listen to. I am a 49 year old woman from California. I had to tape this due to work and I just watched the tape, I am STILL fired up, ready to go and support our next President Barack Obama. We are all ONE in this United States and now is our time to step up and make a change for what is needed in our country.

This one is for America | Report to Admin Reply
By Alraune from Snoqualmie, WA Today at 12:21 am EDT
This speech was more than a speech any candidate has had the courage to give so far. Barack went beyond the campaign. This is the kind of inspiration, I look for in my President.
This is the story of hope I am looking to find in my leader. This speech was for America. This one was for us all.

My fellow Obama supporters – we cannot let this man get away. We need to make those calls, write those blogs, make the contributions and reach out to every person who can be reached out to and spread the word. Together we can make this happen!!!

Back to biz….. | Report to Admin Reply
By Jay Today at 12:28 am EDT
Obama hit the nail right on the head with this speech….with that said, I think that we need to focus on the bread and butter issues that we face…these are the things that people need to hear. How we are going to accomplish our goals, what specific ideas that we should outline to speak to rural voters in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina… He’s going to hit Iraq and the economy head on this week and that is a major plus…. I have to admit that I had been down over the weekend and Monday worried about the fallout from this, but he calmed my nerves today… Thank you OBAMA! How do you guys think we will be able to reach the so called “blue collar voters?” I am going to start call list tomorrow to reach some voters. We need to register as many new voters as possible..

Still Undecided… but Like Obama’s Speech | Report to Admin Reply
By Vaughn from Arlington, VA Today at 12:33 am EDT
I’m a young African American from Virginia who is, even at this point, still an undecided voter. Until Obama’s speech I doubted I could vote for Obama. After listening to his pastor, I felt extremely bothered by Wright’s comments. Though I, as an AA, can understand where some of the Black anger comes from, him condemning America reminded me of a group of Iranians saying “Death to America” in a chant. But Obama’s speech, I hope, sparks a much needed debate about race relations today. African Americans are often associated with violent crime. White Americans are often associated with racism and bigotry. Now most Black people are not violent, and most White people are not racist. But these wrong perceptions are believed by a great many people in our country. There is one thing that I slightly disagree with though. The anger from some in Black America is not necessarily from the slavery era, that was 140 years ago. What we’re dealing with is the lingering effects and resentment about segregation. Some of us young folk seem to forget there are still people alive today, both Black and White, who alive when there was segregation. Some Blacks feel like they are not welcomed into “mainstream America” irregardless of the success of people like Will Smith and Oprah. I think there is some self-esteem issues where some Blacks feel they can’t achieve because of their race and we must be mindful and be willing to reach out to these people.

Time to Give Again | Report to Admin Reply
By Julio “Hussein” Bats Today at 12:50 am EDT
Barack did us all so proud with that speech yesterday that I’m still struggling to recover from the emotional and spiritual conviction it caused in me. My soul is currently in riot and torment as I look at the future of this country and wonder loud: what will become of America if Barack Obama is not our next President?

WORLD FESTIVAL OF YORUBA ARTS AND CULTURE(WOFEYAC) WILL BRING TOGETHER YORUBAS FROM amerikkka(including Oyotunji BLACKamerikkkan YORUBAS),THE CARRIBEAN,EUROPE ALL TO YORUBALAND,NIGERIA TO RESURRECT YORUBA LANGUAGE AND CULTURE,NOW RE-SCHEDULED FOR NOV. 2008!PREPARE TO COME BACK TO AFRICA FOR THIS FESTIVAL!

March 15, 2008

from nigeriaworld.com
World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC)

Country and Region Nigeria — Lagos
Type of Festival Dance, Music
Location of Festival Lagos, Nigeria
Festival Description The inaugural festival’s aim is to exhibit the arts and culture of the Yoruba people and thereby preserve their African heritage. In addition to the Yoruba of Africa participating, so will the Yoruba of the Caribbean, America, and Europe. These countries will demonstrate the cultural heritage they have kept alive through cultural ancestors.

Festival Dates NOV. 2008

Other Sources:
Articles and Reviews:
Nigeria: Soyinka Endorses Festival of Yoruba Arts And Culture (This Day, September 10, 2007)

http://allafrica.com/stories/200709100970.html

WOFEYAC Honours Tinubu
By Olaide Adekunle

The World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture, WOFEYAC, has made the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu its National Ambassador.

At the investiture, which was organised by the Alaroye Group of Newspapers under the chairmanship of Chief Omolade Okoya Thomas, it was announced that the festival is to promote the Yoruba culture around the world.

In his speech, General Adeyinka Adebayo (retd) described Tinubu as an ambassador of cultures, languages, politics and a worthy leader.

“I can’t call him an Ambassador of Culture alone but also an Ambassador and Grand Patron of Politics and indeed a worthy leader,” he said.

Tinubu, who spoke after the investiture, pledged to submit himself to the promotion of arts and culture, while urging Yoruba elite to take culture seriously and promote it like other tribes.

“I beseech you my fathers and our elders of the land to take our culture to a greater height,” he said.

At the occasion, the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, lamented that among cultures in Nigeria, only the Yoruba culture is backward because the language itself is dying due to the negligence of the elders.

Dignitaries present at the occasion include the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; the Onido of Ido Osun, Oba (Arch) Aderemi Adedapo Olumore who represented the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Gbadebo.

Others are Sen. Ibikunle Amosu, Abike Dabiri, Chief Razaq Okoya, Amb. Segun Olusola, the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Kuforiji and his wife; Gen. Bolaji Johnson (retd), Mr. Kola-Kuforiji and wife, and the permanent secretary, Lagos Television, Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo, among others. ############################################################### ARTS SECTION:

THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER(NIGERIA)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Update swing for WOFEYAC

NO stone would be left unturned to record a successful first edition of the World Festival of Yaba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC), the organisers have insisted.

Headed by the publisher of Alawoye, a weekly news publication in Yoruba, Mr. Alao Adedayo, the organising committee has expressed satisfaction with the preparation so far made to host the festival in NOV. this year.

With focus on showcasing the rich cultural content of the Yaba, the festival is also expected to sensitise other nations and nationalities that make- up Nigeria, to mobilise and take advantage of the merits of arts and culture in strengthening bond of friendship as well as fostering global peace and harmony.

The team just returned from a tour of countries in the West Coast to mobilise support for the festival. Billed for NOV., 2008, participants are expected from Benin-republic, Togo, Sierra-Leone, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, USA, Europe and others.

The acceptance, recently, by the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to serve as national Ambassador for the festival, was described by Adedayo as positive step towards positive direction.

Tinubu said that he accepted to be the National Ambassador of WOFEYAC because he believes that it has the potential to reposition the Yaba race and Nigeria at large among the country of nations.

According to a statement signed by a member of the organising committee of the festival, Mrs. Banke Adelaja, Tinubu said he was inspired by the fact t hat participants and tourists, who would attend the festival from different continents, would be pleasantly surprised by what they would find in Nigeria “as it will go against the negative information they have been fed with.”

The former governor was quoted to have said “When the publisher of Alawoye, Alao Adedayo, and the WOFEYAC team approached me to be the National ambassador because I saw it as a programme that, if institutionalised will come with huge benefits.”

Tinubu was of the opinion that t he programmes of the festival would be packaged in a way that would continue to draw international participants year after year.

Being organised to promote rich artistic and cultural heritage of the Yoruba as well as to enhance national land international integration, the WOFEYAC has also won the support of many prominent Nigerians including the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka. Late last year, Soyinka was decorated as the festival global ambassador.
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##################################################################################################################### FROM SOLTAI.WORDPRESS.COM An exceptional gathering
February 26, 2008 by soltai
First published in The Nation, Lagos

Rich in distinctive cultural heritage, the Yoruba people at home and in the Diaspora often manifest their values in unique dimensions. Now, in what promises to be a celebrated gathering, they are coming together from all over the world to celebrate the first ever Yoruba Festival of Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC). The clarion call is “Let’s go home to celebrate” as

Fatherland beckons

With Professor Wole Soyinka and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as ambassadors, the World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture scheduled for April promises to be an uncommon gathering of the nation as the man behind the project, Alaroye publisher Alao Adedayo, told Group Arts and Culture Editor, SOLOMON TAI ADETOYE

His sojourns around the world exposed Alao Adedayo to cultural trends among his Yoruba people scattered across the globe. What he saw left him not only worried but also inspired. So after sharing the vision with his top team at Alaroye, a stakeholders’ meeting was quickly summoned. The purpose of which was to work out modalities for hosting a cultural festival of the Yoruba peoples.

Legal practitioner and Islamic leader Dr. Lateef Adegbite, former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Professor Wale Omole, cultural icon and former Nigerian ambassador to Ethiopia Chief Segun Olusola, Oodua People’s Congress founder Dr. Fredrick Fasehun and retired General Alani Akinrinade were among personalities at the stakeholders’ meeting. All South West state governments were represented.

“The whole thing began in June last year,” Alao Adedayo told The Nation. “I was out of the country in May. During the trip, the erosion of cultural links of our people abroad came up again and again. I can’t say how it actually happened… that is how I got the vision. But it was on my return to the country after the trip that we at Alaroye decided to organise a festival of Yoruba arts and culture.”

It goes beyond cultural concerns. Alaroye is at the forefront of indigenous language print medium in Nigeria. A Yoruba language, its patronage is predominantly by the people of the South West Nigeria. In Adedayo’s words, “It is the Yoruba people who had brought Alaroye to where it is today. And it is Alaroye that has brought us to limelight both home and abroad. So, the festival is part of our giving back to the society where we got everything. It a gesture of appreciation and social responsibility.”

When Adedayo shared with those present at the stakeholders’ meeting, his proposed Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture nomenclature for the proposed event earned an addition. According to Adedayo, “Those present said if we were planning to bring organise an event that would involve people from all over the world, while no name it so? So, ‘world’ was added. Hence the name World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC).”

One of the people who could not make the first stakeholders’ meeting was Wole Soyinka who was out of the country at the time. On his return, he placed a call to Alao Adedayo to be updated on developments. After another trip abroad, one of the first things he did on his return was to call Adedayo again to get updated. The events that took place at the Ake Palace Ground at Abeokuta last October 2 therefore came as no surprise.

On October 2, 2007, the logo of WOFEYAC was formally unveiled at a ceremony the had in attendance the crème de la crème of Yoruba sons and daughters from all walks of life. The ceremony also doubled as the official announcement of Wole Soyinka as the Global Ambassador of WOFEYAC.

As the Alake of Egbaland Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Professor Wole Soyinka and a handful of other dignitaries came out of the residential section of the sprawling palace complex to the Palace Ground, an open events venue with VIP sitting area, drumming and singing resounded in the air. The excitement was infectious. By the time the events proper took off, nobody was left in doubt of the enormity of what was happening – a landmark event that those present will proudly announce their witnessing when culture historians refer to it in future.

The front row of the seating that was several rows deep would convince anybody that the organisers were serious. If King Suny Ade represented the Yoruba musical constituency its royal sector was ably represented by the Alake and the Olowo of Owo Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi. The intellectuals? Dr. Lateef Adegbite was present while Professor Akinwunmi Isola, Yoruba author and linguist delivered the lecture of the day. Oodua People’s Congress founder Dr. Frederick Fasehun who sat alongside business moguls said the opening prayer – of course, in the traditional way. Representatives of the South West states’ governors later took their turns to deliver solidarity messages. Scintillating performances by the cultural troupes of Lagos and Ogun states gave a foretaste of what one can look up to at WOFEYAC.

This was not the first time Alaroye was gathering Yoruba leaders together. Beginning from 2002, the publishing house has organised a series of forum tagged Gathering of Yoruba Leaders. These forums boasts of having great names in Yoruba land present at different times and in different capacities. Among these are Professor Bolaji Akinyemi who delivered the lecture at the first forum, Chief Richard Akinjide, Pa Abraham Adesanya and Pa Emmanuel Alayande who sent a representative. Others are Dr. Lateef Adegbite, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Alaafin of Oyo, retired Generals Adeyinka Adebayo and Alani Akinrinade, Otunba Gani Adams and Dr. Frederick Fasehun who never missed any session.

“We organised Gathering of Yoruba Leaders to bring together leaders of thought in Yoruba land to ponder on issues of unity and progress of the Yoruba people,” Adedayo said. “We were concerned with creating a vision for the future development of our people.”

Adedayo said the Alaroye team was concerned by the state of affairs in the land whereby a people with great potentials for development had been reduced to their present state because of what he described as self interest of the leaders. Immediate gratification, he said, had taken the place of planning for say the next sixty years.

“It would be stupid for any set of people to start thinking of separation in Nigeria today,” he said. “We have gone beyond that level. What we are saying is that the Yoruba people have the potentials of becoming more economically powerful, politically developed and socially advanced than any other group in Nigeria.”

According to him, the reason for this is not far fetched. Its root is in the early education of the Yoruba people which produced among them professors and doctorate degree holders at a time when some other groups were yet to reach out for university education. He referred to two pointer during the colonial era. “Way back in 1945, late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo wrote a book challenging the presence of colonial rulers in Nigeria. Education is a tool of liberation. It is a fact that because of the edge the Yoruba people had in the area of education they were the administrator running the government in the north and part of the east during the colonial days.”

Regrettably, gains of the gatherings could not be consolidated. According to Adedayo, “The gatherings brought great promises. For example, it was at the first gathering that Chief Richard Akinjide raised the issue of two thirds and called upon those who might have been aggrieved to let’s put it behind us.”

The two thirds issue was when Chief Richard Akinjide representing Alhaji Shehu Sagari of the National Party of Nigeria whose 1979 presidential election victory had been challenged by Unity Party of Nigeria presidential candidate late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In what not quite a few Yoruba consider betrayal of great mischievous proportion of Yoruba interest, Akinjide went before the election tribunal and in what would earn any mathematician a Nobel Prize calculated two thirds of nineteen states. Twelve states and two thirds of one!

Gestures such as Akinjides and promises of united front for progress ended up falling on their face as soon as political jostling for power took over.

“We had thought the leaders would steer Yoruba people in the right direction,” said Adedayo. “But we have discovered that it was wrong not to also try and carry the people along.”

WOFEYAC which is scheduled to hold in NOV.in Lagos and Abeokuta simultaneously is an attempt at this.

Alao Adedayo went further to paint a vivid image of second motivation for WOFEYAC. All over the world, there are Yoruba people who had travelled abroad to better their lots in life. Most of them, he said, did not plan to stay long. They only planned to stay maybe five or ten years. At the end of the day, lack of concrete achievements keep them there for long.

Offspring of these Yoruba people end up growing up not as Yoruba. Apart from the fact that they are in different cultural environment, there is the problem of their parents who do not have the time to raise them. They are brought up by foster parents such as day care centres as the parents have to go to work early and return late. By the time they grow up, there is nothing in them resembling Yoruba heritage. Some, contends Adedayo, end up marrying people from other countries and getting to settle down in places like the Caribbean.

The fate of these people is different from that of earlier Yoruba Diaspora of the slave trade era. Completely uprooted in groups and settled permanently, the latter held on to their cultural heritage. The Diaspora of this age is made up of individual sojourners whose plans never went beyond going away for a few years.

To convert this disadvantage into an advantage, the Alaroye crew believe the World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture is a veritable tool. Drawn back to their roots, these scattered Yoruba will become part of the movement to move the Yoruba nation forward.

While Professor Wole Soyinka who according to Adedayo hardly stays more than two weeks at a stretch in Nigeria is mobilising the outside world, former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been named the National Ambassador of WOFEYAC. His own former presentation in this capacity is billed for next month.

Adedayo explained how these choices were made: “Prof. you know is an arts man, a cultural man. His itinerary takes him all over the world. He is therefore well positioned to spread the message. At the same time, we need someone who can take the message to all parts of Nigeria. I am talking of someone who has access to places like the presidency and national assembly because we need to present a clear image of what we are doing before people will come to the wrong conclusion that it is paganism. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is well positioned for this.”

The event itself is billed as a cultural fiesta featuring different aspects of Yoruba life – dance, music, festivals, arts, food, just name it. While groups like Yoruba Council of Elders have representatives on the planning committee, Professor Wande Abimbola is the link with the Ifa devotees. Talks are on with Osun State government to stage a mini Osun Festival. All governors in the South West are patrons while traditional rulers are life patrons. Either as part of the steering committee or as advisers, hardly is there any part of Yoruba leadership that is not involved in WOFEYAC. Adedayo explained that this was to carry everybody along.

Egypt’s role as a base of Black civilisation brought the country in as it is expected to send a cultural team. Countries of West Africa with Yoruba presence, Europe and the Americas are sending delegates. In fact, there are groups in the Caribbean who are requesting that the dates be moved forward a little to enable them prepare better.

In the entrenched Yoruba cultural habit of wrapping even the most serious notions in fun and excitement, the payoff of the festival is Omo Yoruba, e je ka rele odun o. Yoruba sons and daughters, let’s go home for festivities. Homeland beckons. No doubt millions are bound to respond.
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Tuesday,November 27, 2007

Segun Fajemisin
segunfajemisin@hotmail.com | ABOUT COLUMNIST

ANNOUNCE THIS ARTICLE TO YOUR FRIENDS

WOFEYAC TO INAUGURATE UK STAKEHOLDERS’ FORUM

——————————————————————————–

orld Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC), the cultural event slated for spring 2008 in south-western Nigeria has received yet another boost with the inauguration of the UK Coordinating Committee.

Comprising about ten members drawn from across the diverse social and professional strands in the UK, the body is tasked with creating awareness and rallying up support for the festival scheduled for 15th – 21st April 2008. It will also explore the commercial, tourism and publicity potentialities such as will assist the main organisers in Nigeria give the festival a global facelift.

On Saturday December 8, 2007, the Committee will pull out all the stops to inaugurate WOFEYAC STAKEHOLDERS FORUM (UK) with the sole aim of bringing Yorubas in the United Kingdom together and awakening their consciousness with regards to the festival’s socio-cultural import. The forum will have in attendance the Chief Organiser of WOFEYAC, Alao Adedayo, publisher of the ALAROYE Group. Other prominent Yoruba sons and daughters from Nigeria and abroad are also expected to attend the forum billed to take place in London.

The World Festival of Yoruba Arts and Culture (WOFEYAC) aims at bringing together Yorubas in the Diaspora in a single event which will showcase the unique culture that has been the way of life of the people and the root of their distinctive existence.

Since inception, WOFEYAC has received rousing acceptability from all and sundry but with spectacular support from prominent Yorubas including Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Segun Olusola, Dr. Lateef Adegbite and Gani Adams. The state governments of the South Western states are also lending support to the fiesta.

Conservative estimates have it that there are over 25 million Yorubas in the Diaspora today with influences felt in the Republics of Benin and Togo, mid-eastern Ghana while descendants are also to be found in Cuba, Brazil and the Caribbean.

WOFEYAC, aside being a potential revenue generating machine is also a potent tool for global acceptance through the creation of awareness and acceptability for Nigeria and Africa in general.

Arguably one of the largest ethno-linguistic groups or ethnic nations in world history, the Yoruba culture is also one of the most vibrant and the people are renowned for their rich civilizing heritage and idiosyncratic ethos. Monarchies, deities, customs, dressing, food, religion, socialisation and artistry are all but a few of the distinct elements of the Yoruba nation.

Over time, it has produced several renowned and successful individuals whose meteoric rise and existence are edifying and have thus livened up history. The Yoruba culture boasts of valiant progenitors such as Oduduwa and Oranmiyan while illustrious sons and daughters include Rev Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief James Ajibola Ige, to mention but a few. Afrobeat icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and the legendary Ambrose Campbell are two of the departed musicians who achieved fame that transcended the borders of Nigeria, nay Africa while others including Chief Sunday Adeniyi (aka King Sunny Ade), Dr. Evangelist Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi, Fatai Rolling Dollars are alive and bear testimony to the great artistic inclination of the Yorubas.

In the Diaspora, the Yoruba influence spreads as far as Oyotunji Village in Beaufort South Carolina, the Descendants of the Yoruba in America (DOYA) Foundation in Cleveland OH, Ile Ori Ifa Temple in Atlanta GA and African Paradise in Griffin GA, all in the USA. Descendants are also to be found in Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago etc.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has given his endorsement to the proposed festival which he described as “one of the best things to happen to Africa and, indeed the global village.”

In his views, widely reported in mainstream Nigerian newspapers, Soyinka, who has accepted to be the Global Ambassador of WOFEYAC affirmed: “We are now in a world where many individuals want to know where their forefathers came from, they undergo DNA test, conduct extensive research and do everything they could to link up with their ancestral homes. And there is no doubt that people outside Nigeria and Africa will want to come to be part of this.” (Guardian online / http://www.ngrguardiannews.com. 6th September 2007).

All roads lead to Majestic Restaurant on London’s Coldharbour Lane SW9 on 8th December where stakeholders including officials of cultural groups and indigenous societies will come together and fly the banners of a proud race in readiness for the big do in Nigeria come NOV. (CHANGE OF DATE)2008.

© Segun Fajemisin / Mediaworks UnLimited

London October 2007

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March 15, 2008

FROM nigerivillagesquare1.com

Friday, August 05, 2005
An Analysis of the Survival And Resurgence Of The Yoruba In The Americas:

A perspective of an African American on re-connecting to our cultural traditions

by: Iya Oyatolu Olajejoye

——————————————————————————–

ABSTRACT

The focus of this paper is on descendants of Africa’s cultural/spiritual systems. The paper offers a perspective on the effects that the slave trade and colonization has had on descendants from Africa. The Yoruba are one of the surviving indigenous traditions of Africa. The Yoruba ethnic group is examined and how the culture/religion persevered a traumatic history. Yoruba tradition and others are unique cultural/religious systems that maintained remnants and propagated rich and complex systems in the Americas. This paper discusses the effects of Christian influence on Africa and its descendants. Finally, I examine how the Yoruba are in the midst of a dramatic global resurgence.

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Nearly five thousand years ago civilization was inventing itself from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates valleys. Later, in what became the foundation of western civilization, Israel birthed Judaism. As a “result of the invasion of Egypt by the Persians and Alexander the Great, the Greeks began development of western philosophy and science, a millennium thereafter.”[i] As western culture expanded the “big three” religious traditions systems of the western world became Christianity, Islam and Judaism. East Africa is the commonly accepted source of humanity although; European thought distorted the perspective through which the West viewed the world, “having relegated Africa, Asia, and South America to secondary position.”[ii]

For centuries, missionaries were inextricably bound to the economic agenda’s of their respective European nations. Africa, Asia, and South America were each invaded by foreign governments. Dominance of world markets was the first of primary motivations of missionaries to preach and teach that the spiritual salvation of African people (and other conquered people) could only occur when natives relinquished their native belief systems. “Europeans expanded the slave trade and turned the kingdoms’ leaders into collaborators in that dreadful business…which… led to the destruction of their empires.”[iii] The historic trend to encourage abandonment of indigenous beliefs has lasted for centuries and is still a tremendous influence in third world countries. European and American thinkers such as Charles Carroll, The Negro a Beast and R. W. Shufeldt, MD, America’s Greatest Problem: The Negro did not care to understand the complex and varied spirituality of indigenous people. Dominant cultures disregarded the validity of indigenous cultures. The European based “Enlightenment” period defined “truth for ethnic group(s) of people, which denied their traditions, then set out to destroy the authority of those traditions.”[iv] As an example, one commonly known negative trend in thinking resulted in classifying African and African descendants as three-fifths human. Although, the three-fifths human theory is a somewhat distant part of American history and was dispelled, this paper discusses how elements of similar thought still have affect on the consciousness of African descendant’s. European based cultures did not care to understand the value indigenous people placed in natural systems and their worship of nature. Polytheism practiced by indigenous people was deemed as anti God and the worst of spiritual practices. Early missionaries, anthropologists and scholars viewed worship of nature as demonized beliefs that were evil, crazed, sex-frenzied, idolatrous, primitive, fetish worshipping and superstitious. Indigenous spirituality and culture were judged as being without meaningful moral foundation, content or having any valuable philosophy. Conquering nations categorized traditional beliefs as void of any characteristics of meaningful social structure. For Christian theologians blackness of skin color was an indication of damnation. As God’s “emissaries” Christians began to teach natives religion in allegedly “the only way” that God could hear them, and that was in the Christian way. European missionaries claimed they could intercede and communicate with God on behalf of those that their nations oppressed. Christian theologians generally turned a blind eye to the hypocrisies of the mistreatment, subjugation and exploitation of Africa. The only hope for African’s was to submit to the will of the teachings of European nations.

Conquered people that became converts were more readily absorbed into the social benefits that western countries dominated. That trend is a lasting trend that still influences African immigrants today. In colonized Africa, employment, education and status became linked to natives professing denial of traditional ways and abandonment of native belief systems. Economic opportunity, status and western education were tied to Christian and Islamic religion.

Euro centric perspective became the accepted thought from the frontier situation. It generated a psychological orientation in the conquered people of those countries. With a common global agenda, European nations set on a course to profit from market of slaves, to replace indigenous beliefs with Christianity and, simultaneously take the wealth of the nations they conquered. Enslaved deportees were dispersed throughout the Diaspora to various Christian dominated countries. Estimates vary that between thirty million and 100 million slaves left Africa in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. During the last century of the transatlantic trade, most of the slaves that arrived in the America’s were taken from West African areas colonialists began to call Yoruba land. “The very nature of enslavement linked to intra-African warfare facilitated the deportation of political and religious leaders. “[v] A large segment of the targeted victims of the slave markets groups were religious, political, and social opponents to slave markets. Slavery had existed in Africa for centuries. The system of slavery that existed in the America’s became an entirely different form than in Africa. As an example of a story that describes slavery from one oral tradition: A rich man was a Chief, who owned many slaves, as was the custom in those days. Among his slaves there was a particular slave, whose name was Ida. Ida was the head of all the Chief’s slaves. Ida was more than a slave to the Chief; he had become a son and equally a trusted friend to the Chief.

Over the course of centuries, throughout the dividing of Africa between the English, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish the cultural and religious beliefs of Africa were ignored as “world religions.” The overall success of missionaries converting the colonized can be measured in examination of two of the following 20th century charts on religion. Note in the following chart “Tribal” religions are grouped in one non-differentiating general category. This is noteworthy because the huge continent of Africa has numerous diverse ethnic and spiritual belief systems. This paper focuses on primarily one ethnic group and cultural/spiritual system, the Yoruba. The third chart lists 2002 estimates of Santeria and Lucumi religious practitioners, which evolved in Caribbean countries from the ethnic groups of the Yoruba spiritual systems. The statistics that are cited illustrate huge differences in the numbers of practitioners and therefore raises the questions of accuracy. As discussed indigenous religions have been historically maintained as secret societies. In the interviews that are included in this paper one interviewee states that the Yoruba are the largest unrecognized spiritual systems worldwide. During the 20th-Century the systems of Santeria, Lucumi and Candomble were the most notable surviving spiritual systems of the Yoruba of Africa:

As an example of disclosure of native beliefs and religion the following results were documented. Participants of the survey arguably and silently questioned the motivation of the surveyors. Place of residence and attitude toward retention of traditional Religion of 219 Yoruba, Ibadan 1964:

TOTAL

IJAYE
LALUPON
IJAYE
LALUPON
IBADAN

Should Be Kept
40
29
40
29
28

Should Not be kept
60
71
60
71
72

100%
100%
100%
100%
100%
100%

[vi]
PROPORTION OF WORLD POPULATION ADHERING TO MAJOR RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (IN PERCENTAGES)

Year
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000

Religion

Western Christian
26.9
30.6
30.0
29.7
29.9

Orthodox Christian
7.5
3.1
2.8
2.7
2.4

Muslim
12.4
15.3
16.5
17.1
19.2

Non- religious
0.2
15.0
16.4
16.9
17.1

Hindu
12.5
12.8
13.3
13.5
13.7

Buddhist
7.8
6.4
6.3
6.2
2.5

Chinese Folk
23.5
5.9
4.5
3.9
2.5

Tribal
6.6
2.4
2.1
1.9
1.6

Atheist
0.0
4.6
4.5
4.4
4.2

[vii]

In 2002, the number of Santeria in North America was estimated as:

According to Adherents.com, various sources predicted:

Florida: 60,000
U.S.: 800,000
North America: 500,000

J.E. Holloway, the author of “Africanisms in America” estimates:

New York City: 300,000

Egbe Lukumi estimates:

U.S.: over 5 million.

The “American Religious Identification Survey, (ARIS)” by The Graduate Center of the City University of New York computes:

U.S.: 22,000

Santeria is currently concentrated in:

Cuba and other Caribbean islands.

The Hispanic population in Florida, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, New York City and Los Angeles.

Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, México, and Venezuela.

France and the Netherlands.

The objectivity involved in the compilation of data on practitioners of Yoruba culture/religion past and present eludes accuracy based on dominant views and perceived non-acceptance of the native traditions. Informant’s lack of truthfulness was and still is motivated by two primary reasons. 1) Fear of denial of access to privileges controlled by the Christian or Muslim majority (namely employment and education). 2) Maintenance of the secrecy of secret societies and oral tradition. “The attack on African Institutions is accompanied by a superimposition upon African communities of alien organizations. In fact, most of the so-called “accepted” and responsible organizations in modern African communities have a European format.”[viii]

All traditions of the world usually have priests, griots, sages and wise men as guardians of tradition. African guardians of spirituality survived and passed on their traditions depending upon where they landed in the slave markets. Guardians of indigenous traditions also remained in colonialized countries avoiding capture into the slave trade. Indigenous spirituality has always been maintained by secret societies. Consequently, the erasure of indigenous beliefs became a prevalent misconception in tracing slave religion in the “New World.” An indiscernible number of indigenous people that remained in Africa maintained traditional religion. One method of retaining tradition resulted in certain select members of families being designated to maintain the religion while allowing others to convert in order to become assimilated. From an African traditionalist’s view the problem of losing “their own” traditions has historically impacted indigenous societies and cultures and is credited with steadily undermining culture in Third World countries.

People aware of their status would, have surrounded African born slaves that had been religious leaders, as they arrived in Caribbean countries. Caribbean countries were predominantly Catholic countries. In Caribbean countries African deities were syncretized and worshipped as Catholic saints. Newly arrived slaves along with freed slaves that arrived in the Caribbean countries began syncretism of their beliefs with Catholic saints while still worshipping in the old way. Africans were therefore, able to hide and pass on their native beliefs “under Mary’s skirts” by way of the Catholic Church. Those were the guardians that survived to pass on the traditions. Syncretization was the key to the preservation and survival of Yoruba deities. Covert syncretization allowed slaves to maintain their ethnic culture. As slavery began to cease, the Trans-Atlantic trade operated by Africans and Afro-Brazilians was, truly motivated by religious values and retention of ethnic culture.

“It is reported that a number of repatriates and their children that returned to Brazil became both prominent figures in Candomble and successful importers of African religious goods. An African born freedman, Adechina is said to have traveled from Cuba back to Africa for initiation to IFA. Later he returned to Cuba. Another free African, Efunche traveled during slavery where he was documented as having a major impact on the religion (reportedly in Cuba and Nigeria).”[ix] According to evidence that exists there were “religious specialist expelled from Brazil for such practices as healing and divination. Between 1848 and 1869 Yoruba speaking people settled by the hundreds.”[x] Yoruba spiritual beliefs were able to survive the transatlantic slave trade in various vestiges in the Caribbean. As an example, 1,000 Yoruba recaptures and descendants settled into “Grenada into a closed community in 1849.”[xi] Aspects of the Yoruba language mixed into Caribbean culture, the languages and were preserved along with religious practices. Yoruba spiritual beliefs were retained in several systems including Batuque, Candomble, Tambor De Mina and Umbanda in Brazil, Lucumi and Santeria in Cuba, Shango in Trinidad and Jamaica, Venezuela, Palo, Vodou or Voodoo in Haiti. Consequently, slaves did not completely disconnect with their culture, nor blindly convert as the Christian Churches describe as “good sheep.” “Autonomous organizational structures, the framework of forced and eventual free migration, mutual contact and exchange stimulated the development of Orisha religions in the New World.”[xii]

The Protestant dominated slavery system differed in the United States. Slave owners intentionally separated slaves that spoke the same language and dialects from one another. As such, the American slavery system did not allow for the maintenance of traditional belief systems in the same way, as in Caribbean countries. For the first two centuries of the U.S.’s beginning it is documented that most slaves in the U.S. were not allowed to attend churches or to learn to read. Slave masters feared slaves would interpret the Bible in ways that would challenge the continuation of slavery. Yoruba practitioners were absorbed into their environments becoming known as conjurors, root doctors and hoodoo men or women in the U.S.
Contact between the African homeland and slaves were almost entirely severed in the U.S. over the next two hundred years after the Civil War, during the Reconstruction period, through the 1960-70’s. The image of Africans as ungodly pagans destined through a biblical curse to remain in a position of perpetual servitude was widely circulated. Racially biased beliefs were embedded in the ethno-centrist outlook of white America and in the Caribbean. Christian theology was interpreted using the Bible to support that blackness of skin color was an indication of damnation. Freed slaves and their descendants were led and left to view the indigenous homeland through a “prism of extrinsic, distorted images that were about them, but not innately from them.”[xiii] Books such as Charles Carroll, The Negro a Beast (1900) and R. W. Shufeldt, MD, America’s Greatest Problem: The Negro (1915) eroded the progress that had been hoped for in the minds and spirits of freed slaves. Racially destructive and divisive propaganda, perpetuated by the formation and growth of organizations such as, the Klu Klux Klan fueled a racist backlash in America.

The period after slavery saw intensified converting of ex-slaves and their descendants to Christianity. The teachings of Christianity encourage belief in reward in an afterlife, in which, after death African American’s could reap the benefits of suffering on Earth. Followers learned to unquestioningly follow Christian teachings. The learned behavior was to accept their minister’s teachings, in the same manner as Shepard’s lead sheep in a mindless manner. This belief system was seen as encouraging a “layaway consciousness.” Internalization of Christian doctrines therefore resulted in a submissive and/or angry psyche. The combination of internalizing Christian doctrine and lack of information about Africa helps in “understanding why self-hatred engulfed the African American mind from slavery, Reconstruction”[xiv] through today.

Robert Michael refers to “the iron law of oligarchy which suggests that without planning for the contrary authority, power…inevitably gravitates toward a central elite, leaving others on the outside.”[xv] Examination of social, religious and economic systems in the Americas is the key to understanding the effect oligarchy had on racial psyches.
The following chart describes the development the transnational movement among African descendants. The significance of this genealogy is that it supports a better understanding that indigenous beliefs went “underground” rather than actually disappeared in the Americas. It also reveals that the disconnection from Africa has always been a part of the minds of African scattered throughout Diaspora. The resurgence of the movement in the 20th Century to re-claim African spirituality is documented as:

Geographical Scale Of Orisa Voodoo Geneology

Development Of Modern Capitalist Nation-State (1870-1930)
Post-Civil War-Postslavery-Reconstruction
Early Black Nationalist Formations
Racial Segregation-Jim Crow
World War Ii
Racial Segregation-Jim Crow
Development Of Horizontal Institutions/International Community (1950-70)
African And Third World Independence Struggles
Postcolonial State Formation
1959- Oba Of Oyotunji Is Initiated To Ancient African Culture As A Priest Of Obatala In Cuba
1960-70: Spread Of Sanateria Throughout U.S. Urban Centers
Civil Rights Movement
Height Of Black Power
Racial Divisions Insanertia Communities
Vertical Reconfiguration Of Racial Rights/Civil Liberties (1970-80)
Oyotunji’s Formation-Segregation Politics
Beginning Of Early Oyotunji Travels To Nigeria/Benin
Black Cultural Politics-Self Determination
Airing Of Roots Movie
Racial Integration In U.S. Urban Centers
Outward Migration Of Oyotunji Residents To Urban Centers
Development Of Oyotunji Roots Readings
(1980-90)
Instutionalization Of Deterritorial Yoruba Practices
New Wave Of Electronic Technologies
Accessibility Of Air Travel
Development Of Linkages Between African And Oyotunji Initiates
Global Market Expansionism Of The Rights Movement (1990-2000)
Popularization Of Kwanzaa Movement
Commodification Of African-Centrism
Black Cultural Nationalism And New Market Heritage Alliances [xvi]

Intellectuals and researchers such as, Martin Delaney, the Father of Black Nationalism opened the doors to African Americans studying ancient cultures and African heritage. In 1859, Delaney formed the Niger Valley Exploring Committee seeking immigration of Africans in America to Africa. Subsequently, in 1916 Marcus Garvey led the Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.), another back to Africa movement. Movements seen as radical and potentially disruptive to the social order by African-Americans, have until recently remained almost invisible to scholars and non-scholars alike. Movements such as those two were movements had a contained influence in the Black community.

For the most part, until the rise of the civil rights and Yoruba movements in the 1950s, African Americans in the U. S. were left to view their African homeland as was described in history books. Movies such as ‘Tarzan’ and ‘Birth of a Nation’ portrayed Africans and their descendants as barbaric savages and contributed to the shame Black people felt about their ancestral homeland and themselves.

It should be noted though that, there have always been historians and anthropologists that described African American history, culture and spiritual systems in a more honest, accurate and objective view. Those writers include: Martin Delaney, Charles Chesnutt, John Hope Franklin, Chiek Diop, and Zora Neal Hurston… The significance of such writers was not appreciated nor marketed to large audiences. Consequently, they were not widely accepted during their time. Beginning in the 1970’s and 1980’s renewed interests in these authors further validated appreciation for their works. The work of Charles Chestnutt (1858- 1932) “The Conjure Woman” and Zora Neal Hurston’s (1900-1964), “Tell My Horse,” described African American’s maintenance of voudou culture. Conjurors, hoodoo and root people always maintained a minority presence within the minority community. Other than conjurors, hoodoo, root men and women’s ever presence, over centuries the disconnection and fragmentation from Africa, Cuba, and Brazil…persisted. In contrast, Caribbean countries that had been major slave distribution countries; namely, Cuba, Brazil, Surinam, Haiti, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico maintained a richer cultural exchange with West Africa during the era of slavery, and after it ended. “The greater the contact those in the Diaspora had with the homeland the more intact their ethnic and cultural identities were likely to be.”[xvii] Conversely, the more the disassociation with the home country experienced by the African descended population, the greater the erosion of customs, ethnicity, and culture. Assimilation into the host country and acceptance of the oligarchy structures of countries throughout the Diaspora was the desired norm.

An African presence was either ignored, reported in a distorted or incorrect manner by the majority of early anthropologists, historians, and missionaries. In general, the African presence was not written about or described “by respected authors” in a positive light. A new wave of anthropologists in the U.S. began with Franz Boas (1932), Robert Redfield (1953) and Melville Herskovits. “In the Myth of the Negro Past” (1941) Herskovits demonstrated that African practices were evidenced in aspects of African American behavior. He also contended that the assumption that culture could be totally lost was historically incorrect. It is unarguable though, that the separation from Africa and the negative mindsets that were perpetuated and generated caused the dissipation of the most distinguishable cultural remnants of the indigenous culture of the African ancestral homeland.

Sociologist W.E. B. DuBois became the first Black to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895. DuBois described the African American’s racial psyche as suffering from both racial and cultural identity maladies. In the book, “The Souls of Black Folk,” DuBois called the effects a “double consciousness.” DuBois defined “double consciousness as a residual bifurcation process of Americanization,” [xviii]which damaged the minds and affected the DNA of African descendants.

Perhaps, the preeminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization was Frantz Fanon. Fanon was a native of Martinique and product of a colonial education. He was a noted psychiatrist, intellectual, and scholar. He is most recognized as the author of “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952) and the infamous manifesto, “The Wretched of the Earth” (1961). His research of colonized subjects revealed that a person that “speaks a language not his own creates certain complexes or pathologies.”[xix] Frantz Fanon was able to penetrate beyond the level of anger and outrage to probe deeply into the causes and, more particularly, the effects on the people who are its victims. Fanon recognized that losing language (and culture) castrates the mental and social well being of a people. Fanon began to uncover recurrent pathologies of the condition of African descendants worldwide. The pathologies that derived from the experiences of slave descendants not knowing their ancestral language, heritage, culture and tradition transcended Martinique, France and Algiers where Fanon concentrated his studies. The Statue of Liberty stands at Ellis Island welcoming willing immigrants to become a part of the melting pot of America. As immigrants meld into America they remember the old countries of their parents and grandparents. They generally decide to maintain a sense of racial, ethnic and cultural identity. The melting pot of America allows for the validation of ties of a multiplicity of ancestries, ethnic groups and native languages.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s spawned an awakening of African Americans from the effects of “cultural amnesia.” America as a world leader had a profound affect on the world. The civil rights movement played out in the streets of the U.S. The international headlines the civil rights movement generated in newspapers of the world placed America under expose’. The civil rights movement then naturally forced nations of the world to look inside their own borders for examination. It should have become obvious to every country that was a part of the slave trade, colonization and its problems that the civil rights movement reflected upon every country in which African descendants lived throughout the Diaspora.

African descendants as conquered and displaced people suffer from a 600-year history of causal deprivation of links to their ancestry, spiritual values, customs, and defining social culture. The African American community and African descendents throughout the Diaspora suffer from social maladies caused by an unnatural and traumatic separation from their ancestry and customs. Scholars, spiritualists…. debate about the extent to which the reclamation of one’s own culture, and the validation of that culture will cure the maladies of oppression and learned self-oppression of colonized people. Negative imagery of Africa and those of African descent were internalized for generations affecting the DNA, psychology, and sociology of African Americans and colonized persons of African descent. The era of slavery resulted in a global plight: disenfranchised African slave descendants. African descendents continue to suffer from the pathologies that Fanon researched and documented. These symptoms are residue of the systems of oligarchy of America and Europe. Slavery, colonialism, and the after effects of racism transcend today to globalize the plight of disenfranchised African descendants in the Diaspora.

Doug McAdam aptly described…”the timing and fate of the civil rights movement as largely dependent upon the political opportunities afforded by insurgents by the shifting of power by the ideological disposition”[xx] of the time. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s spawned an awakening of African Americans and African descendants throughout the Diaspora. Many of the African descendants that awakened in the 1960’s, 1970’s were hungry for ancestral traditions, values and culture. To that group of African descendants, the value of Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement did not fully address the cultural gap that was felt by African Americans. Dubois saw a double consciousness. The civil rights agenda based on Martin L. “King’s vision of an inalienable right to pursue educational, employment, housing opportunities, and other civil liberties on an equal basis with white Americans”[xxi] satisfied a segment of the slave descended populace.

Black Nationalists believed that since African descendants were kidnapped and unwilling immigrants to America, the answer to their plight was the second part of Dubois’ double consciousness theory, “namely the re-creation of cultural habits based on a traditional African perspective and approach.” In 1916 when Marcus Garvey left for the U.S. he prophesied to his followers to “Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black king, he will be the Redeemer.”

Gamson and Meyer emphasize the critical importance of the framing of political opportunity in the development of social movements. The 1960’s became a time in American history for “radical thinkers” to seize the political opportunity of the time. A number of Black Nationalists moved towards collective action in beginning several counter-movements. Beginning in 1957 a rarely publicized yet, powerful social movement in the “political process ” model began. One Black Nationalist spearheaded a movement for the reconnection of African descendants with African spirituality and culture in a manner that had never been tried before.

At age 30, a Black Nationalist who came to be known as, Oba Oseijeman Adefunmi, traveled to Haiti to become an initiated practitioner of Voudou. The spiritual culture of the people of the Republic of Benin is called “Berceau de Vodoun” which translates to mean, “the cradle of vodoun.” The spiritual system and culture of Vodoun survived in Haiti. Upon returning to America, he opened a temple in New York, the Order of Damballah Ancestor priests. On May 6, 1957, Adefunmi planned and carried out an African Freedom Day. He marketed the first dashiki and other “African garments designed by Adefunmi himself. The parade launched him as a cultural leader, and from that point on, he was a recognized leader and was called upon to speak and plan various activities.”[xxii] Adefunmi was an avid reader and scholar. He researched the ancient Yoruba in writings such as, “ Religion of the Yoruba” by Lucas. Adefunmi learned that the Yoruba people are descendants of Egypt that migrated from the African continent. He collected research from the author of “Stolen Legacy,” George James. James’ research disclosed theories to support that the ancient Egyptian mystery system was the first system of salvation. The foundation of the Yoruba priesthood was developed from Egyptian teachings. Priests have historically functioned as counselors in connection with religious institutions. Counseling through Yoruba oral divination traditions address all manner of human conditions and pre-date the invention of writing. Diviners are trained to address human problems for solution based upon memorization of a binary system, that is interpreted to identify the presenting problem or situation, using divinely inspired counseling. Priests are also trained in herb logy and other prescriptions for healing called ebo. The Yoruba were nature worshippers and pagan. Adefunmi accepted Lucas’ research that documented how Plato copied four cardinal virtues (justice, wisdom, temperance, and courage) from a list of 10 of the Egyptian system.

In 1959, Adefunmi traveled to Matanzas, Cuba and became the first African of North America to be fully initiated into the Orisha (African divinities) priesthood. Cuba had been one of the strong holds in the maintenance of Yoruba culture and religion. Noted anthropologist and scholar Melville Herskovits agreed that although, traditional African culture had been eroded, he documented evidence that nevertheless supported that there was evidence that traditional African culture had survived, as it did in Cuba and Haiti. When European missionaries, frontiersman, and anthropologists invaded the continent of Africa, they did not understand the value African oral traditions placed in maintaining ethnic history and culture.

Some of the priests that initiated him in Cuba warned him not to give this ancient tradition to black people in America. After his initiation into the ancient art of Orisha practice, Adefunmi decided however, that the pantheon of Gods and Goddesses (Orisha) of Africa had to be reclaimed by and for the Africans in America. As an occultist, Adefunmi developed a strategy in creating an African Village to coincide with the astrological configurations that were present and affecting African descendants in the 1970’s. Under his direction, he and his followers re-analyzed the term ‘pagan’ and incorporated appreciation for nature worship into the philosophy surrounding returning African culture to Black Americans. Adefunmi theorized the acceptance of the term pagan “is not at all inconsistent with the ‘Pagan Intellect’. We have no compunction about referring to ourselves as ‘pagan’ since the word does mean ‘the worship of nature or of nature powers’. It comes from the Latin word ‘pagani’ which meant ‘country people.’ So country people, being closer to nature, were bound to have a stronger sense of the relationship and the influence of nature on their lives.”[xxiii]

According to Douglas McAdam the great driving force of…religious belief is to galvanize humans to decisive action and to change them. Reconnection with Africa movements gained momentum from the 1960’s through this present time in the 21st- century. Since the 1960’s, racism has both diminished and persisted over time. Oligarchy discontinued slavery and most systems of colonialization without addressing the mental and social condition of those scattered throughout the Diaspora. Oligarchy left massive injustice and remnants of injustices without adequate plans to correct the plight of those affected by its long-standing institutions. The distribution of wealth in today’s society helps us to understand that the underpinnings of oligarchy have remained in place. African descendants began increasingly to research, discover, and embrace knowledge of their own history.

In the book, “Intellectual Warfare,” the late Jacob H. Carruthers said, ” Let us build institutions that are not only designed to meet the immediate problems caused by the vicissitudes of white supremacy, but let us establish institutions for eternity. Let us recover and restore our classical civilizations so that it serves us like the classical civilizations of other people serve them.Our classical Nile Valley civilization is…appropriate for us…it is more ancient and achieved more accomplishments than any others…it was an inspiration and model for other cultures.”[xxiv]

Adefunmi founded the Oyotunji African Village in 1970, and coined the phrase “cultural amnesia” to describe the mental condition affecting African Americans. He believed as the Yoruba’s taught, that his ancestors were motivating his focused social movement. The ancestral traditions of the past were leading the Oyotunji movement towards fully embracing an ethnic/cultural consciousness. The ancient Yoruba “were an advanced society with multi-layer and complex roles and divisions of labor, sophisticated political and social institutions buttressed by religious tenets of justice. The Yoruba society engendered supreme confidence, security, and self worth in their inhabitants.”[xxv] Adefunmi’s movement gave the drive for reconnection “to home,” a place in America, the Oyotunji African Village in Beaufort, County South Carolina. The development of Oyotunji Village gave African /American’s a substantive opportunity to reject the law of oligarchy by not seeking inclusion, to validate their own history and to re-embrace their own culture as well as, to choose to establish an African American institution. The Village was designed as a reflection of ancient traditions and societies using ancient Yoruba culture as a model. Worship of Orisha became the Village’s pillar of belief and support. The secret systems of Yoruba priesthoods of the Orisha continued to be taught and preserved in oral tradition. Adefunmi began training priests in the ancient divination systems to address and offer treatments affecting the human condition.

As the Village grew Oseijimann recognized, it was of crucial importance to spiritually address the ancestral effects of cultural amnesia. He found a very dynamic center for the preservation of Fa (the Yoruba deity of wisdom), in the former kingdom of Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin).“Ancestral society mysteries had historically been maintained to a very intricate degree. Dahomey has a reputation for maintaining the cultural traditions of Africa. Among them there is no embarrassment, nor shame, nor attempt to conceal their devotion to the cultural traditions of their ancestors.”[xxvi]

Chief Adenibi Ajamu, Foreign Minister for the Oyotunji Village, one of the original founders of the stated that, “The integration of the Egungun (ancestral) society was spiritually identified as the method critically important to strengthen the progress that needed to be made to uplift the African American’s psyche. We therefore began to implement the veneration of our ancestors that lived through unresolved life experiences of our history through the Diaspora. This element was essential to uplift our people.” Our ancestor’s in the America’s had not been spiritually venerated from the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, through slavery, through reconstruction and life in America, as a whole. “The psychology of a people is culturally defined. The ancestors that become the venerated dead maintain wisdom. The Yoruba of America had to learn the lost traditions of veneration of the ancestors in order to uplift their descendants on Earth.” African American ancestors had been neglected for four to five centuries. Egungun societies (ancestor societies) and ceremonies were necessary in order to more completely address and “clean up” the social maladies that plagued the African Diaspora experience. Ancestral societies were implemented to begin to heal social and emotional familial maladies caused by the unnatural and traumatic experience and racism that African Americans lived throughout hundreds of years in America.

In 1972, Adefunmi traveled to become initiated into the ancient mystery system of Ifa (the Yoruba deity of wisdom). Subsequently, Adefunmi’s work and reputation won him acclaim and he became a candidate for Baale (ruler of a town). “On June 5, 1981, he became the first non-Nigerian to be pronounced a Baale by Ooni Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, at Ife palace, Ile Ife, Abeokuto, Nigeria.”[xxvii] He returned to America, continued to travel, practice and train other priests in his acquired knowledge of Ancestral, Orisha and Ifa priesthoods among African Americans. Returning from the coronation in Nigeria, his followers made him Oba (King) of the Village of Oyotunji. The continued development of the African Village served as a training ground for African American priests and the teaching of the political structure of Yoruba kingdoms. Over four hundred priests were initiated at Oyotuniji African Village in South Carolina.

Oyotunji Village became an institutionalized springboard that catapulted into a domino effect in the U.S. and throughout the Diaspora. During the late 1980’s, many residents of the Village began an outward migration throughout the country to urban centers to form temples in urban centers and migrate to other areas of the country and the world. After that migratory movement began, increasing travel began to occur between the U.S., Africa, Brazil, and Cuba Trinidad… Many African Americans began to choose to go directly to Africa, Brazil, Cuba, and Trinidad… for initiations to Orisha and Ifa.

As the Oyotunji movement grew, between 1960’s and 1980’s white Santeros from Cuba and Puerto Rico increasingly migrated into the U.S. Most of the Cubans that came to America were political exiles that brought the Orisha practices with them. Responding to the civil rights movement and their own mixed lineage’s, Santeros and Lucumi acknowledged that African slaves had given Santeria to them. Santeria and Lucumi practitioners increasingly began to accept African Americans into their temples in America.

African descendants embracing African spirituality and culture began to become firmly rooted in major urban centers in America. As a cultural strategy with a specific aim at addressing African descendants, the Village chose neither to initiate Caucasian converts nor, to include white practitioners. As Adefunmi’s vision of reclaiming African Gods for African American’s practice grew in the U.S., many venues for non-blacks began to spring up around the country as well. White practitioners were referred to Santeros, Lucumi’s and began to develop their own communities and temples using the African spiritual systems of Orisha and Ifa.

“ The greatest accomplishment of the Oyotunji movement was to progress to a new frontier by removing the last chain of bondage from the psyche of African Americans” explained Chief Adenibi Ajamu. Christianity created a lingering spiritual bondage with its beginnings in coercing slaves into practicing Christianity with the threats of fire, brimstone and damnation for those that failed to convert.

The Oyotunji movement freed the African Americans mind to understand the importance of restoration of culture that had been missing for hundreds of years. Ajamu stated, …”A spiritual system is a cultural/ethnic starting point. We see our mission in a similar manner as orthodox Jews see their culture and restrict access to their worship. Less orthodox, Jews embrace non-orthodox application of their spirituality and are more open to membership. We of Oyotunji began our movement with a specific and directed agenda to help African descendants in America. As a cultural group of pagans we were comfortable with and understood we must include astrological data to understand where black people were, where we needed to be and how we must plan to accomplish this divine mission for our future.”[1]

In that way Oyotunji has functioned with a “ conscious strategic efforts (as a) group to fashion shared understandings of the world. This radical framework legitimated and motivated the collective action of building a village, social, hierarchical institutions.”[xxviii] The reconnection movement with African spirituality is “need based” to correct the residual social, psychological, and mental effects and experiences of Africans throughout the Diaspora. Black Nationalist’s in America have continued to maintain a conservative view of their mission to work for the needs of their people. Other activists have a moderate worldview and still others maintain a universal worldview. It is easy to speculate that Martin Luther King would have continued to develop a universal worldview with his background as a Christian minister. African American nationalists do not apologize for trying to specifically address and help their own people heal first. Christianity is basically a Jewish history. The founders of Oyotunji Village defined religion as a composition of the ethnic heritage of a particular people who were African and of the Yoruba ethnic group. In religion important events in an ethnic groups cultural and political history are remembered. Religion is essentially an ethnic celebration, composed of the events and philosophies, which evolved, based upon the environment in which they lived.

Baba Sondodina Ifatunji is an African American Assistant Professor at Chicago State University. He said since 1990 he has traveled to Trinidad, Nigeria, and Cuba dealing with Yoruba culture as a playwright, director and Babalawo. He has traveled to Ghana and South Africa involved with other projects in African culture. When he first traveled to Nigeria to become initiated, as a Babalowo “there was a struggle for the indigenous culture to survive. Today partially because native Africans have recognized that an economic market is open for African culture, it is less of a struggle than in the ‘90’s. In the 1990’s, indigenous practitioners were struggling however now; today there is more strength among the culture bearers. Whether the indigenous people were practitioners of Orishas or Ifa they all had some familiarity with culture.” Some of the indigenous people were surprised that he as an American would return to African traditional culture. His students at Chicago State University petitioned him to add a Yoruba Culture class to the University curriculum. He said it is exciting to see the enthusiasm of the students each time he teaches the class. As a playwright and director he stages plays at least once annually that tell Yoruba folk and Orishas tales mainly to the public school system. “The Yoruba stories are told with subliminal content. The stories have a healing affect” on the lives he touches. Class sizes range from 10 students up to 300. He finds a great joy in giving young people something he didn’t have as a child, stories of Africa and African gods. The stories have “morals and lessons to relate to and there is magic in the healing effect of telling Ifa stories.”[2]

Clients come to Ifatunji for divination in waves, sometimes many and then sometimes only a few. He estimates that he currently has a list serve of approximately 100-150 people. Some of those people he may have seen only once then others he has ongoing spiritual developmental relationships with.

Chief Adelekan, Babalowo was born in Ile Ife, Nigeria (1936) into one of the three royal households of the Yoruba. He is a current resident of London, England and has a degree in Engineering. His father, Chief Laadin, was fifth in rank to the Ooni (King). Chief Adelekan began his religious training as a child, and in 1975 was ordained. He took rigorous advanced training in Ifa, earning titles Oloye Amulewaiye Iledi-Ooni Ile Ife (He who seizes earth upon entering the world), Olumesin Oduduwa Ile Ife (Promoter of the religion), and Orisa Tunwase Obatala Ile Ife (Emissary of Obatala) among many. He said, “Decades ago, no self- respecting doctor or hospital would be caught in association with such things as tai chi chuan, meditation, qigong, acupuncture, etc. A large enough segment of the public has chosen to penetrate the veil that clouded their vision of (the world), and now begun to look past Greece, Rome, and Europe to …for solutions to our most pressing problems.” He said of Africans that disavow their traditional culture in public, to “follow them home (to Nigeria) and you will see that they are hypocrites, they disavow their culture because they are told avenues of opportunity will be closed to them if they acknowledge they believe in the traditional way.” [3]

Fayomi Fasade was initiated to Ifa in California and to an Egungun society in Chicago. She believes that “Ifa and Orisha practitioners represent the largest unrecognized cultural/spiritual group worldwide. Historically the western influence has come after African traditions to tear down the religion and the culture in order to take the vast wealth, natural resources, knowledge, and herb logy of the country. She lived in Ghana for a year in 2000, and learned, that when British colonizers left Ghana giving Ghana independence from British rule, they dismantled the sewer system. As the colonizers had been the controllers of the major infra-systems, Ghanaian people are led to believe that the colonizers running aspects of their lives could result in a better life.” In South Africa, people are led to believe that racism “has been obliterated however, it has not been. Many prominent entertainers in America…are re-connecting to African culture however; they are not practicing outwardly. Our people use duplicity of survival in playing the game in order to survive. “[4]

Baba Songodina Ifatunji, administers the Ile Ifa Jalumi website and on that forum explained his journey into African culture this way:” It was no accident that a Black Nationalist was responsible for turning the tide and making Yoruba culture accessible to Africans of North America. It is because a Black Nationalist would know the next most logical step to take to help with the advancement of our cultural group. Black Nationalists prepared themselves by studying our racial, ethnic and historical soul. We were trying to restore things to something closer to their original, pre-Colonial form and purpose.” Ifatunji relates an odu (ancient story used to apply divination counsel) published from the ESE Ifa (oral archives) of the odu Oturupon Meji as told to him by noted scholar and Babalowo, Dr. Wande Abimbola. In this story, the figure Oyepolu was identified as being one who was separated at an early age from his mother and father and, as a result, knew very little about the rites and rituals of his family’s culture. Oyepolu’s life was not going well. This story has, for me, long epitomized the condition of the African of America. The advice to Oyepolu was that he should return to the graves of his ancestors. He did so and his life became sweet.”[xxix]

In Nigeria World Feb., 1999 an article on ‘Globalization, Its Implications and Consequences for Africa,’ by S.T. Akindele, Ph.D. wrote, “Indigenous peoples will become the chief protagonists of change in the coming millennium. Indigenous people present their challenges to the course of globalization…The convergence of indigenous rights with international human rights advocates throughout the Americas is gaining momentum.”

McAdam recognized the importance of the Internet and transnational travel in the development of social movements. Today the worldwide growth of this social movement is especially propelled forward with communication technologies such as the Internet and decreased costs for travel abroad. The 21st century is opening a way for many people to break from unfulfilling conventional religious practices. A universalistic perspective is another by product of this time in history and result of various social movements. According to Elazar, “ The dynamics and confusions of history must neither obscure the truth…(for)…it must change the course of history through its institutions… “today we have reached a point where a unified world history can be seen by all. What remains is to reorganize our teaching of world history to incorporate the worldwide perspective…and not fall in the trap of making all historical events equal.” [xxx]

George James connected social reformation through a new philosophy on Africa’s redemption in value placed on it in that “the knowledge that the African Continent gave civilization Arts, Sciences, Religion and Philosophy is destined to produce a change in the mentality both of the White and Black people.”[xxxi]

Establishing data on the Yoruba resurgence is difficult because: the movement is resistant to tracking data, data collection, documenting movement mobilization, and fully disclosing increasing transnational links. The Yoruba movement of today though changing, maintains secrecy as a part of its culture. Whether choosing a conservative or universal approach to understanding the global expansion of African Indigenous culture the growth is evident. Examples from the Internet include:

The OrisaWorld Congresses that have attracted hundreds of participants from around the world no matter where the congress was held. To date it has been held in the following countries: – “Cuba: 2003 – Nigeria: 2001 – Trinidad and Tobago: 1999 – USA: 1997 – Brazil: 1990 – Nigeria: 1986 – Brazil: 1983 – Nigeria: 1981. The theme of the Rio, Brazil 2005 OrisaWorld Congress is “Orisa Religion and Culture in the 21st Century.”
The consistent goal among practitioners is worshipping the ancestors, the pantheon of Orisha and increasingly, Ifa. As an example of the growth of the African spiritual systems the Internet google search engine produced the following information: Results 4,320 for Ifa African divination system, Results of about 72,900 for orisha and 1,310,000 for African spiritual systems. The following information from websites was also excerpted:
From the website: /www.rootsandrooted.org. .” We are especially proud of the lasting bonds that have been forged between African and Latinos, through the existence of this site. All of us seek our roots. Western society leaves all disconnected as it encourages us to place our trust in material goods and ways of living that were engineered by marketing firms. More and more people of all ethnicities are turning to Africa to find the solace, focus, and regeneration that they need in life. Temples listed with our service:
VODUN Georgia: West African Dahomean
awo@newafrikanvodun.com

http://newafrikanvodun.com

http://www.lulu.com/iwakeri
Vodoun VOODOO Louisiana: Ava Kay Jones
New York: Temple of Yehwe YORUBA/ORISA’IFA
California: Ijo Orunmila, Ile Orunmila, and Awo Study Center
Florida: Ile Orunmila Temple, Ife Ile, Church of Lukumi Illinois: Ile Ifa Jalumi, Ile Osikan, Egbe Imole Agbon Iwosan
New York: Ile Ase, Lukumi Church
South Carolina: Oyotunji Village
Tennessee Mimo Anago Ile Oshun
Texas: Ile Olokun
Virginia Ile Oyigigi Ojuba Orisa AKAN
Georgia: Akan Spiritual United Order
Maryland: Nyame Dua: Shrine House for Spiritual Healing
New York: Obaatanpa N’Abosum Fie
Pennsylvania: Adade Kofi Bosomfie Sankofa, Asona Aberade Shrine, Inc. Washington D.C. Onipa Abusia, Asomdwee Fie,
Shrine of the Abosom and Nsamanfo KEMETIC
Washington DC Region,
Florida: Ausar Auset Society Orlando Study Group
Maryland: Baltimore Branch of the
Ausar Auset Society International Pennsylvania: Ausar Auset Society in Philadelphia
Washington D.C. Ausar Auset Society
Washington, DC “
http://www.mamiwata.com/Hoodoo.html#hoodoonot”Mamaissii Vivian Dansi Hounon is (the first resurrected lineage) priestess of the Yeveh Vodoun and Mami Wata tradition in the United States of Congo ancestral spiritual lineage’s. She was initiated in1988 and in 1996 and trained in Togo, West Africa, and in the United States. Mamaisssii is founder and president of OATH (Organization of African Traditional Healers). She is a graduate of Chaminade University, and Augusta State University M.Ed. She has been traveling to West Africa (and other countries) since 1988. Her spiritual lineage descends directly from both sides of her own family who were Mami Wata & Vodoun priests, captured & enslaved as hired-out masons and carvers in America. She believes that she must resurrect her culture from centuries of fear, ignorance, shame, and forced amnesia of who we really are. Her website contains recordings from 1930s compiled” An Episcopal Priest, Henry Hyatt, who was commissioned to collect and preserve these first hand accounts of priceless knowledge on hoodoo culture…
http://www.odundeinc.org/
“ODUNDE is a Yoruba word that means “Happy New Year” in the Yoruba language of Nigeria. Lois Fernandez, a devotee of the Yoruba cultural tradition, spearheaded the first festival held in the United States in 1975. This year’s festival marks the 30th year of the festival. Ms. Fernandez visited Africa and witnessed the festivals celebrating the various Orishas in several towns of Oshun’s and being a devotee of Ifa she decided to replicate the celebration in her home town of Philadelphia. Today, the ODUNDE festival is one the oldest most successful African American Street Festivals in the country.”

CONCLUSION
Vibrant transnational communities have developed around the world from an accelerated reconnection of embracing Yoruba and other forms of ancient African spirituality. Marcus Garvey prophesied to his followers, “Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black king, he will be the Redeemer.” A redeemer is someone that returns something of value to those who lost it. I see Garvey’s prophesy to mean that in time, a redeemer would open “flood gates” of awareness that would facilitate mental and spiritual freedom from the consequences of sins, inflicted upon a race of people scattered throughout the Diaspora. Oligarchy and its aftereffects have plagued civilization for 600 years. Reclamation of African culture is vital in healing lives troubled by double consciousnesses and the pathologies caused by oligarchy. Finally, Oseijeman Adefunmi seized the political opportunity of the time, to begin a unique social movement. The movement encouraged practitioners to have an appreciation and value of their own ethnic identities, their history as a people, and an appreciation for themselves. It further validated the cosmogony of life from an [xxxii] African centered perspective.

——————————————————————————–

[1] Interviews with Chief Adenibi Ajamu April 14, 16 and 20, 2005

[2] Interviews with Baba/Professor Songodina Ifatunji April 21, May 9, 2005

[3] Interviews with Chief Adelekan April 16, 2005

[4] Interview with Iya Fayomi Falade April 18, 2005

——————————————————————————–

[i] Stolen Legacy, George James, Introduction {1}

[ii]World History Curriculum, Daniel Elazar, page 7

[iii] World History Curriculum, Daniel Elazar, page 90

iv Runaway World, Giddens, Anthony New York: Routledge, 2003). page 57

[v] Orisha Journeys : The Role of Travel in the Birth of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, Cohen pages 17-36

[vi] Yoruba Religion and Medicine in Ibadan, Falipe 1970, page 289

[vii] The Clash of Civilizations

[viii] Intellectual Warfare, Jacob Carruthers, page 271

[ix] Orisha Journeys: The Role of Travel in the Birth of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, Cohen

[x] ibid

[xi] Orisha Journeys: The Role of Travel in the Birth of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, Cohen

[xii] Orisha Journeys: The Role of Travel in the Birth of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, Cohen

[xiii] (In) visibility and Duality of the Civil Rights and Yoruba Movements: 1950-1990s, Faola Ifagboyede, California State University, Northridge

[xiv] ibid

[xv] Democracy and the Iron Law of Oligarchy, Michels, Robert, 1876-1936

[xvi] Mapping Yoruba Networks: Power and Agency in the Making of Transnational Communities, Kamari Maxine Clarke, Duke University Press, 2004 page, 136

[xvii] Orisha Journeys : The Role of Travel in the Birth of Yoruba-Atlantic Religions, Cohen pages 17-36

[xviii] The Souls of Black Folks, W.E.B. Dubois

[xix] Black Skin,, White Masks, Frantz Fanon, 1967 page 135

[xx] Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, Mayer N. Zald, Eds. Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966. Introduction and ch. 1, pp. 1-40

[xxi] (In)visibility and Duality of the Civil Rights and Yoruba Movements: 1950-1990s, Faola Ifagboyede, California State University, Northridge

[xxii] ibid

[xxiii]Keynote Address by H./R.H. Oseijeman Adefunmi I, Columbia University 1-16-93 jalumi.com/articles/adefunmi_newyork_address.htm

[xxiv] Intellectual Warfare, Jacob B. Carruthers, page 273

[xxv] Nigeria World February, 1999

[xxvi] jalumi.com/articles/adefunmi_newyork_address.htm

[xxvii] Funeral Program for Oba Oseijeman Adefunmi I, February 20, 2005

[xxviii] World History Curriculum, Daniel Elazar, page 16

[xxix] /jalumi.com/articles/adefunmi_newyork_address.htm

[xxx]World History Curriculum, Daniel Elazar, page

[xxxi] Stolen Legacies, George James, page 153

Other Works Cited

DuBois,W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folks

Fanon, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth

Fanon, Frantz, Black Skin, White Masks

Washington, Joseph, Anti-Blackness in English Religion: 1500-1800

Lovejoy, Paul, “The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion Under Slavery” Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997), 3

Herkovits, Melville, The Myth of the Negro Past

OYOTUNJI VILLAGE(IN amerikkka)’s NEW OBA HAS A RUN-IN WITH BORDER POLICE ON HIS PILGIMAGE TO YORUBALAND,NIGERIA,JAN. 2008,FROM THE SUN NEWSPAPER(NIGERIA)

March 15, 2008

from sunnewsonline.com

Saturday March 15, 2008

On pilgrimage to Nigeria
Baptism of fire for king of Yoruba clan in America
By MAURICE ARCHIBONG
Thursday, January 24, 2008

•L-R: Fancy the facial marks of Yoruba-Americans, Chief Olaitan and Ol’Oyotunji of Oyotunji, Beaufort, South Carolina.
PHOTOS: MAURICE ARCHIBONG

The traditional ruler of Oyotunji, a Yoruba community in America, had a baptism of fire on arrival in Nigeria following his detention for two nights at Seme Border. The communal king, Oba Adejuigbe Adefunmi II, was arrested in connection with alleged possession of narcotic drugs.

The man, who holds the title Ol’Oyotunji, is monarch of the Yoruba enclave, which stands within Beaufort in the US State of South Carolina.

Oyotunji, the name of the miniature village in Sheldon, Beaufort, alludes to a resurrection of the ancient Yoruba Kingdom of Oyo in southwestern Nigeria, and Oba Adefunmi, 31, said he succeeded his late father, Oba Efuntola Adefunmi I, premiere Ol’Oyotunji of Oyotunji, to the throne.
Apart from the monarch, Mr. Akintunde Meredith, another member of the team of seven African-Americans, said to be on a pilgrimage to Nigeria, also spent two nights in custody with officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at Seme Border, Nigeria’s southwestern frontier neighbouring Benin Republic. Mr. Meredith, 24, is a stepbrother of the Ol’Oyotunji.

The five remaining members of the delegation were however allowed to continue with their sojourn in Nigeria, but they simply could not. Instead, the quintet chose to check into a hotel and await the fate of their co-travellers. Sources revealed they had planned to catch some sleep at a nearby inn, however, even for those that managed to catnap for an hour or two it must have been a fitful sleep.

According to NDLEA sources at that frontier, a white powdery substance, suspected to be Category A narcotic, was found inside the vehicle that the American-born Kabiyesi was riding in. Category A drugs include cocaine and heroin. Furthermore, Mr. Meredith was found to be in possession of some 2gm of weed, suspected to be marijuana.

This led to the arrest of the duo on January 15, which stalled the journey of the team until two days later, when the oba and his brother were released. Oba Adefunmi II was freed because the white powder proved negative after laboratory tests for narcotics. It was however revealed that, though the grass found on Meredith was confirmed to be Indian hemp, the young man was let loose because, going by the quantity he was carrying, it was probably meant for personal use and not for commercial purpose. How naïve of Meredith to attempt taking coal to Newcastle!

Occasionally, NDLEA commands with approval from that agency’s headquarters, release suspected users after counseling, where the volume of drug found on the person was rather small. In Meredith’s case, however, to continue to detain him for counseling would have meant further delay for the entire team. This informed the decision to let him go, and sin no more. But this was only after older members of the entourage had signed undertakings to effect the counseling aspect as well as promised to do all they can to ensure that Meredith does not abuse any drug throughout their stay in Nigeria.

The team’s trip ran into the 48-hour hitch as soon as they entered Nigeria from Benin Republic. Oba Adefunmi later told Travels that the group’s spiritual sojourn in Nigeria actually began on January 8, when their Delta Air flight landed at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, (MMIA), Ikeja. He revealed his group had subsequently travelled to Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin Republic, where a member of the entourage has her roots. That co-traveller was left in Benin, where further search for her ancestral origin, was supposed to take her to Allada.

The other members were subsequently returning to Nigeria when they encountered that go-slow at Seme Border. The pilgrims had planned for a seven-day stay in Nigeria billed to end on January 22, their departure date to the southeastern US State of Miami. Their interception therefore probably caused a reduction or an extension of the duration of their visit.

Asked to comment on the suspected narcotic found on him, the Ol’Oyotunji was quick to stress: “Actually, the substance was not found on me. It happened to be in the car that I was riding in. And I never noticed it, until the officers discovered it. And, when they untied it, I, as a traditional Yoruba Kabiyesi, recognized the powder as Ifa divination stuff called Orosun, and I told them so.”
Responding to Travels curiosity about his attitude to drugs, Oba Adefunmi had this to say: “I, as Kabiyesi, do not do drugs.”

Trained as an artistic mason, Adefunmi recalled that his mother, Mrs. Esuogo Oyewole Adefunmi, had made a similar pilgrimage to Nigeria in 1971/72. His mom hailed from the US oil-rich State of Texas. Esuogo and her husband had 23 children but 18 of these offspring were daughters. As a result, there had been much fanfare, when Prince Adejuigbe was born in 1976. Much publicity and celebration had greeted the birth of this baby boy because, after bearing about a dozen daughters, a male child and heir to the throne had, finally, arrived.

Speaking further on the visitors’ motive and itinerary, Oba Adefunmi said they were in Nigeria to visit Ile-Ife with the hope of meeting Yoruba traditional rulers, especially in Osun State. “Nigeria is the ancestral home of all Yoruba, and Ile-Ife is the spiritual home of all Yoruba people. So, we came to explore means of more communication and collaboration between various Yoruba communities and Oyotunji. We want to promote awareness about the existence of Oyotunji, an Oduduwa Village in North America,” remarked Adefunmi, who is proprietor of a US-based media outfit called Great Benin Films and Books.

The Ol’Oyotunji is also a priest of the Oyotunji-based African Theological Arch-Ministry, which was conceived to promote African religions and culture in America. This explains his appearance and regalia, which featured conspicuous facial marks, a bead-decked staff, flywhisk, and traditional Yoruba headgear, among others. Many of the other men in the group also bear “tribal” marks.
The visiting septet also included Mrs. Ifabunmi Sands, elder sister of the Ol’Oyotunji as well as 59-year-old Chief Apena Olaitan. Mrs. Sands, whose middle names are Olubiyi Adesoji Adefunmi, is eldest daughter of the late premiere Oba of Oyotunji.

Sands, 40, is a mother of four (three sons and a daughter), and the lady, who told Travels that she is into literary studies, added that she had earlier taken a degree in the sciences from a college in Sacramento, capital of the State of California in the US Pacific coast area. Chief Olaitan, whose first name, Apena, derives from his position in the Ogboni cult, introduced himself as a high school science and mathematics teacher. The Apena Ogboni recalled he relocated to Oyotunji in 1978, eight years after the establishment of that commune.

Aside the tourists’ disposition toward Ifa, everyone in the delegation also boasts some comprehension of the Yoruba language. In fact, when we sought the view of Chief Olaitan on the marijuana found on Meredith, and where the group were going from there, this is what the Ogboni chief had to say: “It is sad that a mistake by a silly boy brought embarrassment to the Kabiyesi, our group and country. However, we have consulted Ifa and we’ve been assured that it will all end well.”

Oba Adefunmi I, the founding father of Oyotunji, was once known as Walter King, but he jettisoned these epithets in favour of the Yoruba names of Efuntola Adelabu Adefunmi, among others, after a visit to Cuba in 1959. He had gone to Cuba for initiation rites into Yoruba traditional religion. The late Oba Adefunmi I, who established Oyotunji with 18 US dollars, 30 years ago, was born in Detroit.

Detroit is in the US State of Michigan, whose region is called Mid West, whereas it is geographically located in North Central United States. The American City of Detroit, where Adefunmi I was born, is famed for its automobile industry and the Rhythm and Blues (R&B) hits’ factory, Motown Records. The sports club Detroit Pistons, the R&B group Detroit Spinners as well as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and the Jackson Five all had their early careers in Detroit.

Although polygamy is illegal under US law, the taking of multiple wives is allowed in Oyotunji, apparently in emulation of the custom in pre-Christianity Yoruba society. And as a king, who lived what he preached, Oba Adefunmi I married 17 wives in his lifetime! Unlike the late Oba Adefunmi, who sired some 28 children, his successor son is only a father of three, probably because he is monogamous.
The incumbent traditional ruler however reminded us that he was still young, and could still acquire an additional wife or two.

Travels subsequently turned to Mrs. Sands, who is the only wife of her spouse, to find out, if she would support her brother’s drive toward polygamy. Despite her American citizenship, Sands responded in the affirmative, adding: “As Africans, polygamy is not strange to us, so I would encourage him, if he wished to take another wife. But, I would screen the girl to find out whether or not she’d make a good wife.”
How dare a woman interfere in the business of a king, whose word is in some quarters considered law? A king is supposed to be superior to everyone, and therefore could have his way always, wasn’t he? We teased.

Sands again: “I know that Kabiyesi’s word is law, but he’s still my kid brother. His life is our life, so I have the right to screen any woman he wants to take for wife.”
After that, we turned to Chief Olaitan to tell us how many wives he has. “One wife, now,” he said. But how was the population of their community going to grow, when he, another key figure, is also monogamous? “I support polygamy,” he submitted. However, one could say that his support was more in theory than practice. To that, Chief Olaitan agreed but finally revealed, “I’m still looking.”

Speaking on the visitors’ experience, the NDLEA Commander, Seme Special Area, Mr. Isa Adoro Umar, told Travels that much as tourists were welcome, they should bear in mind that his agency would fish out any one given to drug abuse or trafficking, adding that the experience of the Americans showed that no quantity, however small, would escape detection.

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OYOTUNJI VILLAGE,A YORUBA VILLAGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA,FOUNDED BY THIS BLACKamerikkkan FORMER DANCER(NOW LATE) FROM ASSATASHAKUR.COM

March 15, 2008

from assatashakur.com
POSTED BY:
#1 09-07-2005
Warrior Princess
OG Warrior Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Augusta, Ga.

Style: Assata Speaks

Interview: Oba Osijeman Adefunmi I of Oyotunji on Why He Chose Yoruba (and more)

——————————————————————————–

http://www.yoruba.org/Magazine/Winter97/Win9706.htm

Isokan Yoruba Magazine, Fall 1996/Winter 1997 , Volume III No. I, Page 21.
“Yorubas Have Undermined theire Culture”,
An Interview with Oba Osijeman Adefunmi I of Oyotunji, South Carolina.

Date: June 26, 1996

In OYOTUNJI AFRICAN VILLAGE, in South Carolina

Interview is conducted on behalf of Isokan Yoruba Magazine by Chief Ajagun

Q. Your Highness, why did you choose to adopt the Yoruba Culture?

A. Mainly because at the time of our interest in going into African past, the Yoruba tradition was the only one available. It was not even available in the United States and we have to travel to Maxtansas in Cuba. It was through Cuban-Americans that we were guided into consultation and contact with a group of descendants of Egungunme tradition. Later, we learnt that we had made the best, perhaps the finest choice because Yoruba was universally spread out and had germinated in South America all the way up at that time to Cuba. We learnt further that there are large numbers of African-American people who were descendants of the Yoruba tradition and culture and through books written by researchers even in South Carolina and also into the former Louisiana territory owned by France in previous generations that there had been a huge importation of Yoruba and Dahomian people. It meant that here already was a latent reservoir of descendants of the Yoruba people.

Q. What about your name?

A. We had reclaimed our name, Adefunmi, before we later became familiar with Yoruba history through Oro Idile when it was discovered that there was a chieftancy located at the ancient Oyo, named Adefunmi.

Q. May we ask Your Highness what your childhood was like?

A. Our childhood was typical of that of second and third generation descendants of a slave Yoruba. We were born into freedom but our grandmother often remarked of her birth during the slave era here in the U.S.. Our childhood was one of extreme poverty, of being moved from one location to another as our family sought ways and means to earn its living and to support itself in the city of Detroit, Michigan. It was also at Detroit that our parents had met and were married. We were raised in a Christian environment. We attended high school in the U.S., all these under our slave name of Walter King. During the period of our education, we started commercial art at CastTechnical High School in Detroit. Our father died when I was 14 years old in Detroit. Our mother had relocated to the suburb of Detroit but was compelled to return to the innercity after the death of our father. Our family members, for the most part were welfare recipients and we as African-Americans were subject to various discriminatory practices prevailing in Detroit at that time. I was born in 1928, the year before the great economic depression in the U.S. which was not relieved until the installation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1930.

Q. What was the real turning point in Your Royal highness’s life that really brought you full circle to embrace African Culture?

A. The most significant event that took place was reading a text called My Africa written by the Igbo writer, Mbonu Ojike, who had written a chapter on religion that excited us and illuminated our knowledge and mind when he argued that whether man created God or God created is an unsettled argument. He also pointed out the failings and falsity of Christianity and Islam in the life of the people in Nigeria. He also commented very profoundly on the discriminating attitude and practice of the white American community. The chapter on religion was so illuminating and penetrating that immediately after studying and meditating on it, we renounced our Christian faith, the slave tradition of Christianity and we began to search for a more African form of religion. We were also impressed by the writings of J.A. Rogers, a popular Africanist in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s whose articles appeared regularly in Michigan Chronicle and Pittsburg Courier. These articles also opened up our mind and encouraged us to search for our African heritage at 14 years of age..

Q. What will you call Your favorite pastime?

A. It has always been art works. Our ancestors have bequeathed to us skill and talent in the arts. We always elaborated on that and wherever we went; we participated with other artists. At Detroit, we engaged in very creative pursuit for the most part to show that art was influenced by the racial attitude and condition of the African American people, arts painting , sculpture and more recently, we have extended our artistic talents and skills to writings. These have always been our main diversion from the ordinary world of an African American.

Q. What do you see as the future for Yoruba Culture in Africa and in the Diaspora?

A. Future of the Yoruba Culture? Well, in our most recent visit to Nigeria, we were filled with dismay at the extent to which the Yoruba have sold out their own culture and have adopted foreign gods as the object of their spiritual religion. We realized what has happened to African Americans over the century that we have subscribed to foreign religions. We realized that our African American spiritual religion had been directed to Israel which is meaningless in the long run. So as a people, our culture, politics and religious experience have been extremely unfulfilled. We see the Yoruba now falling in the same condition through which the African Americans had allowed themselves to be seduced by preachers of a foreign gospel. We know that the universalist inspiration which has come to the Yoruba through Christianity and Islam has reduced their concern or allegiance to their own god and by extension to their own nationality. We see the Yoruba will be very much reduced in their political, cultural and spiritual development by their seduction into these alien religions. So far as the Yoruba in the western world, we see that there are efforts at increasing inspiration to become national or to recognise nationhood, so with that, we see the Yoruba in the diaspora, as it is popularly called, to be the Yoruba that will greatly guide and influence the Yoruba in the ancient homeland, who for the most part are tending to move away from a sense of preservation of their own culture and tradition, particularly religion.

Q. What advice will you give to African Americans trying to find their own root?

A. African Americans attempting to find their own roots will be better served by adopting the Yoruba tradition which for over 30 years, we have been able to introduce into the U.S. We see the African Americans have a profound desire to re-identify with their ancestors and with an ancestral tradition. We know that among vast numbers of African American intellectuals, there is a lack of fulfillment in their development and advancement in the Yoruba-American economic world. They found also that Christianity is unfulfilling and that Islam is misleading. So in consequence, African Americans are better served by a knowledge of the custom and tradition of their Yoruba ancestry.

Q. Any advice for the younger Yoruba generation?

A. Younger Yoruba generation will be able to advance to the extent that they increase the knowledge or institution among African Americans, who will serve the need for knowledge improvement through television and resurrection and introduction of stories and background images that established a sense of celebration of their African ancestry.

Q. How can a contemporary Yoruba personality support Oyotunji?

A. Our main necessity or requirement or needs for Africans or native Yoruba can best be served by supplying us with increased knowledge with teachers of language and history, in other words, Yoruba preachers preaching Yoruba tradition, religion, ideals of marriage as well as spiritual behavior. If the coming generations of African Americans are able to receive these types of training and exposure, then there is every indication that this will become a lasting impression and institution which can be enlarged upon by African Americans. The more aggresively the Yoruba culture is advertised and subscribed to among them, the better for us all. Lastly, there is the need for support of our cultural programs. We certainly appreciate the Egbe Isokan Yoruba for their institution of Yoruba cultural month at Washington, D.C. If we can extend this particular celebration to other locations with African American presence, Nigerians would have made the most of their sojourn and contact with African American community meaningful.

We thank your Highness for this interview.
——————————————————————————–

Egbe Isokan Yoruba
P.O. Box 90832, Washington, DC 20090
Tel: (202) 270-6382
FAX: (301) 499-5386
Internet: isokan@yoruba.org
__________________
It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people. “

-Giordano Bruno

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“BLACK WOMEN’S CLINTON PROBLEM”BY SISTER ANNETTE JOHN-HALL,SENT IN BY BROTHER ANDY LANG

March 15, 2008

FROM phillynews.com

Posted on Fri, Mar. 7, 2008

Annette John-Hall: Black women’s Clinton problem
By Annette John-Hall

Inquirer Columnist

Well, well, maybe being in the kitchen is the place to be.
By throwing the kitchen sink – and then some – at Barack Obama the other night, solutions-not-speeches candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton rose from the dead in power red.

Adoring throngs of women chanting “Yes, she will” cheered their sister on as she vowed to win back the family home. You know, the big White one.

My house was quiet. The kids were sleeping safely. And then my phone rang. I picked it up, after the first ring.

“Every time I look at Hillary, I can’t shake the feeling that she reminds me of all the white women who have ever mistreated me in my life.”

That would be my 50-something friend, Tina, calling from Dallas.

Apparently flashing back to some of the white women bosses and coworkers who held the door open for each other – and slammed it on her.

Thirty years later, she is still getting training, working on that make-or-break experience. Like Hillary, 35 years could be her magic number.

Tina cut to the heart of why many black women haven’t overwhelmingly cast their votes in bra-burning solidarity for the “Lifetime of Experience” candidate.

I’ve heard that same resentful sentiment expressed by plenty of other older black women. I guess we’re not the ones they’re talking about when they refer to Hillary’s core base being older women.

Women’s liberation didn’t lift up black women. It helped keep them down.

Picking up the slack
“During the feminist movement of the ’60s, white women were saying they deserved to work outside of the home. But their men didn’t pick up the slack at home,” notes Melissa Harris-Lacewell, professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University.
“Black and brown women did.”

Truth be told, the blue-collar candidate is anything but.

“Hillary Clinton likes to cast herself as an outsider candidate, but the truth is, she is a woman of privilege who is connected at the hip to the [former] president of the United States,” Harris-Lacewell says.

Which means a woman in charge doesn’t necessarily mean women win. My friend Tina could testify to that. Well, me, too. “African American women recognize that as long as politics is old-school run, we will always lose,” she says. “The only way we can get a true hearing is to change the way politics is done.”

For all of Gloria Steinem’s gripes that gender is the most restrictive force in American life, black women know better.

Black and female come with their own challenges. And then there’s that “third burden,” argues economist Julianne Malveaux in the National Urban League’s recently released “The State of Black America 2008″ – being connected at the hip to the all-too-demonized black man.

The report once again finds black women the poorest, sickest, least insured, least educated and most likely to get slapped with a foreclosure notice.

So who can fault a vote for hope? But it’s a nasty four-letter word, when Hillary gets on a mocking roll.

Faith in the choir
Yes, many of us did give her the “Oh, no, she didn’t” arched brow when she mocked the celestial-choirs kind of hope that Obama inspires.
“Celestial choirs is what got my grandmother through,” Harris-Lacewell says. “It’s what got all of our grandmothers through.”

But hope doesn’t necessarily come in a color or gender.

Campaign director Maggie Williams, an African American, answered Hillary’s call for help and righted her house just in time. That doesn’t make her any less black.

And just because Oprah’s an Obama supporter doesn’t mean she’s any less woman.

Comparable policies aside, maybe what it really comes down to is a gut feeling. A father who takes time off the campaign to take his daughters trick-or-treating, as Obama did, resonates as much as universal health care.

Or that he flies in just for an anniversary dinner with his wife, Michelle – herself an empowering image for all women.

“Here you’ve got this brilliant, Ivy League-educated, light-skinned black man who chooses as his wife an equally smart, dark-skinned black woman who is almost as tall as him,” Harris-Lacewell says. “That makes me feel he cares about who I am as a black woman.”

For a segment of the nation so long invisible, “You look at Michelle and you’re like, ‘Yes! He sees me.’ “

While he holds open the door.

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Contact Annette John-Hall at 215-854-4986 or ajohnhall@phillynews.com. Read her work at http:/go.philly.com/annette.

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