April 27th, 2008
08:03 PM ET

More than 8,000 in Detroit to hear Wright at NAACP banquet

Roland S. Martin
360° Contributor


DETROIT – The Detroit NAACP has already set a world record for having the largest sit-down annual dinner in the world – I believe it was 10,000 – and this year is no different.

According to the Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the chapter, more than 8,000 people have bought tickets this year, and suffice to say that the room is packed.

To put it in perspective there are six head tables assigned by color – yellow, black and white, green, red and the blue, which is considered the main table.

The stars are also out in full force, including: Hill Harper; Anthony Anderson; Vivica A. Fox; Morris Chestnut; Judge Greg Mathis; Michigan Gov. Jenniger Granholm; Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin; Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick; former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer; and CNN's Soledad O'Brien.

I'm typing on my BlackBerry, but the photo I'll send soon will show you the expansive room.

The room is hot because the guest speaker is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It has been a busy day for him; earlier he preached two worship services at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, pastored by the Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III.

Well, I'm sitting one seat over from where he'll be speaking so you'll get a taste of what he had to say. I also have my Flip Video camera so we hope to have video as well!

Editor's note: Read other blogs from the 360° team of contributors at cnn.com/360

Filed under: NAACP • Raw Politics • Rev. Jeremiah Wright
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. terri

    The people who are criticizing Rev. Wright were probably not going to vote for Senator Obama in the first place. Having grown up with a boring rabbi, I would have loved to have had just one stirring sermon. Rev. Wright is a lot of fun!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  2. Davison

    Rev. Wright is brilliant! Intelligent! I see him in a completely different light now unlike those brief snippets that ran in rotation on the media outlets. I am so sorry I misjudged him.

    So glad CNN broadcast his speech in its entirety. Kudos CNN!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  3. jorge999

    Great speech. Thank you CNN for covering it.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  4. Donald L

    What a marvelously brilliant speech! I've never heard him speak before beyond the soundbites and I was just blown away by his eloquence and wit. Wow!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  5. Drew

    We have talked about talking about race for years, Now it is happning
    out of the control of the media. Thank you CNN for showing the full speach. What man was useing for bad God is turning around for good!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
  6. Deneen

    Kudos to CNN for running the entire speech and allowing viewers the choice to form their own opinion. This was a message about diversity and not politics.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  7. Streightdope

    Kudos to CNN........ Now I can't believe that some of you are still trying to judge Obama by this man.........Get over it...You have been proved wrong and you are to ignorant to admit it..........Anyone still bashing Rev. Wright is simply a racist and you refuse to accept the truth about yourself and you would not have voted for Obama anyway..........Rev Wright is just your excuse at this point.......................

    April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  8. jay boudreaux

    How hypocritical. CNN schmoozes over this guy and the reporters complain how he was taken out of context. I've listened to enough of this guy to know a racist who toned down his rhetoric. Where were the apologists when Trent Lott was a victim of the soundbite? If you defend Wright and called for Lott's head, that makes you quite hypocritical.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  9. Mary Ellen Galloway

    To the person who said that "any chances of her voting for Mr. Obama are now over" had NO INTENTION OF VOTING FOR HIM AT ALL, ANYWAY! Stop trying to "posture"; it won't work – we have seen you(and your kind) before and we know you and what you are about.: hatred and stupidity. Too bad you didn't listen to Rev. Wright's message, you might have learned something!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  10. Jim in Asheville

    Interesting speech and broadcasting it was important. However, I do believe he is doing Senator Obama more harm than good, at least with middle American voters. He also is a bit over the top with his racial stereotyping of blacks and whites, but admittedly did it in an almost inoffensive way. I couldn't sit through an hour or two of his yelling on Sunday mornings–too little biblical theology and too much political diatribe.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:39 pm |
  11. Julie

    Unbeliveable speech. I was stunned at the intensity and message of this man. Thank you for airing it again... I tuned in late and missed part of it the first time up.

    Change is gonna come!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  12. Mrs. Patricia Brito

    The news coverage of the total Rev. Wright is:


    There is nothing like a complete picture to allow one to form an informed opinion. Thank you for doing that for America.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  13. Viola Cain

    I am sick of your lack of professionalism. Your constant all day commerical for Barack Obama. He reverend wright is an atrocious person! You can't clean him up by playing his comments. Where is your balance in reporting. Now you're making the news up as you go along. Your black reporters cannot report on this person. When he makes yet another mistake, they rush to clean it up and restate it. Enough!! I could have watched FOX.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  14. Rick

    Rev Wright gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard. He is a man of integrity and I thank God for him. If only the rest of the country would stop judging him and see him for what he is, a man who loves God who is full of wisdom and grace. Perhaps some people will now open their ears and listen to his message of hope. I can now see why Obama chose him as his pastor. If you do not listen to his entire speech you are missing something special.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  15. Ron

    CNN and the Clinton's should be ashame of them selves for their attach of Rev Wright. The Clinton's should now remove themselves for this election.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  16. Scott C

    People act like his sermons are all about race, and politics. He is a pastor, he talks about GOD 97% of the time, and the sermons I have heard that pertain to GOD are beautiful sermons.

    Don't make a caricature of the man based on your preconceived ideas about him. Listen to Martin Luther King speeches that aren't "I have a dream" and you will see some HARSH views of the country.

    This man has nothing to do with Obama, he went to his church, followed his message of GOD, whatever opinions Wright has aren't related to Obama.

    People are afraid of change because they are racists who think change means taking something away from us white people.

    Makes me sick.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  17. Sam

    I am so happy CNN decided to air the entire speech as well as the introduction. We deserve more than soundbites as viewers. I am glad CNN understands what we viewers expect from them. Great job CNN!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  18. Christian, Tampa FL

    Reverand Wright is inspiring. I would have loved to be at his church, and I'm a white Floridian. I can totally understand why Obama was there for twenty years.

    Hopefully this speech will take the wind out of the sails of those who constanty reduce a great man to small soundbites.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  19. Cathy S.

    After reading the other posts concerning Dr. Wright's speech I can see that we all have a lot of work to do in order to learn to respect differences in our fellow citizens. We are a country of different regions, different states, different religions, different races, different politivcal views, and different ideas- it is our greatest strength. Celebrate being an American!

    As an older white woman who is unfamiliar with the traditions of the African American church I felt that I learned a lot from Dr. Wright's speech. He is a brilliant man and I welcome his perspective and underlying message that being different is not being deficient.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  20. Gimme a break!

    The tail (politics) is wagging the dog (cnn). Very disappointing. Why couldn't a good reporter summarize the speech? I don't understand why CNN devoted air time to this?

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  21. Joe, Chicago

    Wright's character has been assassinated by a negligent media; I hope you start to seek truth over a quick and easy sale, at the expense of this man's life. "Bill Moyer's Journal" on PBS this week goes into his life history and it is extremely insightful. It provides a necessary context that has been missing. This man is both kind and challenging; direct and inspirational; intelligent and truthful.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  22. Suzanne St. Pete, FL

    30 second sound bites, or an entire speech...this guy is mean-spirited & scary. He is setting race relations back 40 years & not doing his candidate, Obama, any good by keeping his big ego in the spotlight.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  23. Miles El

    Just watched Wright's speech and thought it was fantastic. I can see why anyone lacking critical thought and objectivity would not "get it" or perhaps even be fearful. His was a speech mixing intellect, humor, religion and theater. I have never heard anyone dissect the differences between races by using musical time signatures. It was brilliant, funny and, most importantly, very inclusive of all races.

    If you are one of those who don't understand the "change" he spoke of or merely wrote him off as a "racist" then you're quite likely one of the brainwashed, undereducated for whom the lies of the Clintons, George Bush and Karl Rove make complete sense.

    Both Obama and Rev. Wright rightly see America through complex, multi-layered lens that only the thoughtful would understand and appreciate. It's unfortunate that America's racist past and dumbed down modern politrix have made it impossible for some of you to get it. This "enlightenment" is the change that is being spoken of.

    The world itself has changed (ie China, India, EU). It is time for America to step up and embrace change or go the way of previous empires like Rome and the UK.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  24. chris

    Speak truth to power...but
    America has a hard heart
    she will not understand truth
    she has given herself over to racism

    April 27, 2008 at 9:35 pm |
  25. kati

    Rev Wright is a very accomplished man. 2 masters, a doctorate, an egyptologist, a lingusit, a pastor, an author and military Veteran. He has received many prestigious awards from institutions in and out of his fields.
    His style is flamboyant and outspoken. By seeing the speech in it's entirity we can make up our own minds.
    Thank you CNN for raising the bar on televised journalism. An apology is due to the pastor, the people, and Barak Obama .

    April 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  26. Carole

    For Eric in PA .....The theme of the conference was "A Change is going to Come"

    April 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  27. Joe Smith

    I am just wondering when these people will join others who call themselves Americans.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  28. Mark TO

    Thank you for showing him speak for himself.

    The true message is that being different should be valued...

    I wish I had a chance to hear more of his perspective... I also reserve the right to disagree with what I don't agree with.. But there doesn't seem to be too much so far.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  29. Michael

    After watching the PBS interview and the NAACP speech I'm convinced that the future of this country hinges on whether our corporate media manages to convey a faithful portrait of Rev. Wright to the wider public or gets us all trapped in a soundbite echo chamber. Roland and Anderson, your frustrated and voiceless audience are counting on you. Please keep up the good work!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:34 pm |
  30. Yusuf

    Thanks for showing Rev. Wright on CNN – I am not a Christian, but I really admired his speech. I am sick and tired of the soundbytes shown on national Tv – this was the true representation of a Christian scholar, who called for unity instead of divisiveness. Thank you Rich Sanchez.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  31. Jay

    Rev. Wright is a good speaker and he's not attempting to preach hate. He however, is extremely out of touch with reality in America, and he needs to speak about what whites and blacks have in common, not about how different they are. Black people learning differently is not science, it's culture and this sort of rhetoric does nothing to solve problems facing blacks today.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  32. Katie

    It's so interesting that so many are offended by this and other of Rev. Wright's speeches. How many of you realize that recognized clergy of many faiths support this man - even the pastor of Hillary Clinton has spoken very highly of Rev. Wright. Get over it folks - this man is admired and revered by many of your reverends!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:33 pm |
  33. Matt

    I cannot believe that anyone an call this informative and educactional. He has just finished a diatribe segregating blacks from whites. They learn differently, they think differently, and classical music sucks. Had anyone made the comment that he made about the Irish about a Black American, riots would have started. He is racist, egotistical, and I am extremely shocked that the NAACP consider him the paragon of the typical African American.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  34. Lee-GA

    Please. Rev Wright has never harmed anyone. Just speaking his feelings about the bad side of America. Actions speaks louder than words, and what America is doing overseas is a more serious problem.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  35. Clinton-Lover

    I was originally disturbed by what Wright had to say when I saw those clips. After watching the speech, I realized that there are parts of it that anyone can pick out and distort it to make it seem as if it's hate speech .More notably when he talks about the different worship styles of White and Black American's. My new motto is going to be "Different is not Deficient."

    April 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  36. Tyrone

    After hearing this, I say "Go McCain"

    April 27, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  37. Fadel Ohio

    It was a great speech, but I'm still left with the question–why are we listening and worrying about Obama's pastor...can we PLEASE PLEASE get to issues....

    April 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  38. Virginia

    Just what I needed to see.... this nut on tv again. I am a Black woman who found most of his remarks disgusting and certainly not true of me. Why is he on tv? It's to be a distraction FROM all that is wrong with Obama. Pay attention my people. You are being BAMBOOZLED!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  39. Carole

    Congrats on broadcasting Rev.Wright's stirring and inspiring speech! Kudos on an excellent decision!! This is SO much more educational than seeing a 15-30 second loop over and over. Thank you.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  40. Seattle Sue

    I just watched Rev. Wright speak at the NAACP dinner. I thought he bordered on the loony side. How Obama or anyone for that matter sit through twenty years of his sermons is more than I imagine.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  41. Al Jackson

    CNN, I do not understand the fascination in following this man around and reporting every word that comes out of his mouth. It is as though you are waiting for him to make a slip that embarrasses Senator Obama's campaign and one you can capitalize on by playing over and over again as you did with his previous comments. Why don't you give it a rest and stop trying to add fuel to the fire. Rick Sanchez was very bias in his previous reporting of Jeremiah Wright's controversial words and tonight, his response and body language spoke volumes on how he felt about the address Reverend Wright just gave. Why don't you work on getting unbias commentators that report the news and let the people watching decide for themselves what their opinion is. Rick Sanchez, Gloria Borger and Lou Dobbs all have issues, to me, in reporting news fairly and openly. Any of these three can feel free to contact me and discuss MY OPINION further. Thank you.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  42. Shocked

    I was very surprised at Wright's speech, particularly arguing that black children learn differently from Europeans. What a jaw dropper. And the other stereotypes about music and cadence was baffling. I don't think it gave a good impression on whatever it was the NAACP was trying to accomplish, which was not clear.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  43. jamal husain

    Fox and CNN among others have cast Rev Wright as a divider and as an unpatriotic preacher. Instead he came across as an intellectual who has struggled to explain differences among people and the historical circumstances that have defined our society.


    April 27, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  44. Eric-PA

    This guy is scary. I listened to him live via cnn.com and all he kept talking about was change and how he could see change coming. He said he can feel a transformation coming while talking about race. NOW we know what Obama means by change. Let's hope the superdelegates pick Clinton!!

    April 27, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  45. Ed

    Very educational, informative, and impressive overall. It's important for America to hear that different doesn't mean difficient; just different. I believe if more White Americans were accepting of this truth, Mr. Obama would have wrapped up the Democratic nomination long ago. This is, however, not to say that Rev. Wright was alluding to Mr. Obama when he made this statement.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  46. eddie

    I can see how obama adapter his generalizations and boy does pastor wright have sweeping generalizations of white america and black america

    April 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm |
  47. George ATL

    Loved the speech man!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 8:30 pm |
  48. joannlail

    The egomaniac who is now speaking has just ruined any chance of Obama being nominated. Obama needs to get out now, and maybe hold onto a shred of dogmnity. We could see more racial problems than we saw in the 60's. God help us.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  49. Suze

    This is a first for me. I just changed the channel as I find
    Rev Wright to be highly offensive.

    any thoughts I had of voting for Senator Obama are over.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  50. Deb Abbey

    I've been listening to the comments about Reverend Wright's sermons on CNN and thought many of them justified. Today I've been listening to the Reverend's speech at NAACP and think that many of his comments have been taken out of the context of the African church and out of the context of American society. I can't imagine any self-respecting black politician in Chicago not attending his church and I'm sure a quick poll would confirm that. Only a racist could hear him speak and not see the humor and respect for the diversity of America. Let's take a big breath and try to be bigger people than we seem to be at this moment in time.

    April 27, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
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