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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dr. Lowery's inaugural benediction riffs on the blues

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I'll be the first to admit to being less than familiar with former Atlanta resident Dr. Joseph Lowery prior to yesterday's stirring Inaugural benediction. By the time I started laughing through the tears he'd wrenched out of my otherwise cynical heart, though, I figured I should find out more.

A Civil Rights Movement veteran of the highest order, Dr. Lowery led the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965 on the request of Martin Luther King Jr., helped lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks' arrest, and continued his involvement into the Free South Africa movement. He was among the first arrested in anti-apartheid demonstrations at the South African Embassy. Oh, and unlike that other Inaugural speaker Rick Warren, his notion of civil rights actually includes the LGBT community.

While Dr. Lowery's closing remarks brought a lighthearted note to an otherwise somber ceremony, they also riff on a great song — Big Bill Broonzy's country-blues classic "Black, Brown, and White." Though Fox News is doing their best to stir up a controversy, I'm willing to bet they didn't even get the reference.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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