Race Hovers on Edges of Obama's Speech

President alludes to slavery, points to diversity as a strength
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2009 3:09 PM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama made only subtle reference to his race in today’s inaugural address, but it came up again and again throughout the 18-minute address. He said that America owed its prosperity to “the makers of things,” who “endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth,” and that the election of a black man was a sign of the country’s bedrock values.

“We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness,” he said. “Because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself.”