Obama Calls for Racial Unity

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2008 10:46 AM CDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., speaks about race during an address in Philadelphia, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama tackled the issue of race in a candid and risky speech this morning, recounting America’s racial history and acknowledging both black anger and white resentment “we’ve never really worked through.” He denounced the divisive statements of his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, saying they "denigrate the goodness and the greatness of our nation," but he said he could "no more disown him" than he could his own white grandmother, who sometimes succumbed to racial stereotypes.

Obama said black Americans of Wright's generation still feel the wounds of discrimination acutely, and that his mistake was that "he spoke as if our society was static, as if no progress had been made." Obama challenged the country to rise above racial divisions, saying he chose to run for president because he believes "we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together."