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The Obama PhenomenonToward a Multiracial Democracy$
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Charles P. Henry, Robert L. Allen, and Robert Chrisman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036453

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036453.001.0001

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Obama, Black Religion, and the Reverend Wright Controversy

Obama, Black Religion, and the Reverend Wright Controversy

(p.165) Ten Obama, Black Religion, and the Reverend Wright Controversy
The Obama Phenomenon

John L. Jackson

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the controversy surrounding Obama's former, prophetic pastor Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. as it relates to Black identity. The controversy surrounding the comments of Rev. Wright can be traced to black religion's unsolicited interjection into the American public discourse on diversity during an unprecedented presidential campaign, when white America had begun to feel a measure of self-satisfaction about its capacity to transcend historic white supremacy and elect a black man to the high office of the U.S. presidency for the first time in American history. Public questions were raised about Obama's church and faith as well as the patriotism of Rev. Wright and the racial inclusiveness of black religion. Perhaps the controversy would have been less pronounced had black religion's public, “civil,” face been foregrounded. But it came by way of the culturally specific space of the Black Church, not just a context for movement organizing and racial unity, but the setting for challenging moral hypocrisy in an oppressive society.

Keywords:   Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., black religion, American public discourse, Barack Obama, diversity, presidential campaign, black church, black identity

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