Michael Eric Dyson on The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America
____________________________________________Amy Goodman: I mean, President Obama electrified the thousands who packed in at the College of Charleston. We were there. And, I mean, I don’t know about Dylann Roof, but he clearly, Dylann, began to blow the roof off the Confederacy, right? I mean, the South Carolina flag came home, and then President Obama, delivering this eulogy, broke into song.
President Barack Obama: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
Clementa Pinckney found that grace.
Cynthia Hurd found that grace.
Susie Jackson found that grace.
Ethel Lance found that grace.
DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace.
Tywanza Sanders found that grace.
Daniel L. Simmons Sr. found that grace.
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace.
Myra Thompson found that grace.
Amy Goodman: President Obama giving the eulogy in Charleston after the mass killing at the Mother Emanuel Church. The significance of this moment, Michael Eric Dyson?
Michael Eric Dyson:
It was an epic moment in American political history, where the president literally becomes the
preacher to the nation, speaks to them out of the depth of his faith—the faith that 54 percent of the
Republicans don’t believe he possesses. But it’s beyond a Christian understanding of the world. It’s for
anybody who understands spirit, beyond religious bigotry and tribalism, to understand our connection
to each other. And he evoked the best of American ideals. He spoke about black people with empathy
and pride and love. He was at his best when he was at his blackest, which has often not been the case.
And ultimately, he offered the nation the majestic beauty of grace that black people have evoked in their
lives from the beginning of our sojourn here. It was—it was a remarkable moment.
__________________________________ Transcript here .