Barack Obama: We Shall Overcome

Barack Obama: We Shall Overcome

Sen. Barack Obama spoke from the pulpit of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church here on Sunday and drew a clear link between Dr. King’s vision of an America free of segregation and racism and the central tenet of his own presidential campaign, a call for unity after years of partisan rancor and division. “If Dr. King could love his jailer, if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds and erase the empathy deficit that exist in our hearts,” Obama said.

Obama spoke to more than 2,000 people in the large, modern sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street from the original structure where King and his father preached. King’s oratory was twinned with a recognition of the need for hard struggle, and so, Obama said, would be his own. “Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap,” he said.

Obama’s appearance carried the symbolism of the first African-American candidate with a serious chance for the presidency, addressing the church of the civil rights giant whom he often echoes. The huge crowd, which included King’s sister, embraced Obama with warm applause and shouted “amens,” and swayed in unison with him as We Shall Overcome was sung by the church’s 90-member choir.

Barack Obama Speaks at Ebenezer Baptist Church

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