Reverend Lowery Wows Me

Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights icon and a pastor known to speak his mind to power, opened his inauguration benediction with the first words of what is called the Negro National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears...

Lowery implored God to help Americans make "choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance."

He updated the famous passages from Isaiah, suggesting humanity "beat tanks into tractors." He called for a time, quoting Micah 4:4, when every man shall sit beneath his vine and fig tree and live in peace and unafraid, Amos 5:24 , "let justice will roll down like waters."

Rev. 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!"