With the bicentennials of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin the subject of numerous conferences, articles, and television shows this month, we also should remember another important commemoration in 2009: the centennial of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
It's a better country than I thought it was. I honestly wouldn't have thought this possible. I guess I would have agreed with the older generation of African Americans in my neighborhood: This day would never come in our lifetimes-but here it is.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou who has brought us thus far along the way, thou who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.
You would think attempting to summarize my feelings on having been asked to deliver the Benediction at the Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama-would be simple. In fact, it's quite a challenge; given the flood of emotions I have experienced ...
Odetta has gone home.
Artists that touch our hearts help us to see, and they speak for us our own mute truth. A spiritual breath of courage and grace breathes through them and upon us. Our base selves, slouching away from our humanity, stand up straight and recognize that our human being is found in righteous relationships, and we are translated into our more noble selves.