The Associated Press noticed liberal Rev. Joseph Lowery's prayer raised eyebrows when he prayed for that day in the hazy future when "white will embrace what is right." That divisive note drew this headline: "Lowery gives sole inaugural note of racial caution." The entire dispatch was brief:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid the outpouring of inaugural joy over the racial progress represented by President Barack Obama, there was a single, humorous mention of work still to be done.
After the first black president had been sworn in, Rev. Joseph Lowery' ended his benediction with a rhyme familiar to black churchgoers:
"We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around..."
There was laughter from the enormous crowd. The 87-year-old civil rights pioneer continued:
"When yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."
The crowd thundered, "Amen!"