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. MJ

    Fantastic how the people who "hated the speech" commented here early enough to demonstrate they listened to none of it. The soundbite culture that produced the Wright controversy to begin with was made for, and by, people like that.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  2. Dante

    After watching Rev. Wright's speech and then reading the comments on this blog I find it interesting that people focused on his humor and not his message. This is a problem in our country. When you don't want to hear what a person has to say you look for any reason to degrade them. Call the man loony or crazy if you want, but if calling for all races, religions, genders, and classes to fight on the same side to insure a just and equal world for our children is loony or crazy then this is not the country for sane minded people like myself. I guess others were too busy mocking Rev. Wright's humor to hear that part of the message. Or perhaps they just didn't understand all those "BIG WORDS" he used.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  3. Gregory Carter

    I was thoroughly impressed with the message giving by both Rev. Anthony and then Rev. J. Wright. I thought that he was teaching those of us had forgotten out roots a refresher course and those who never knew our past or even their own, he was giving them a modern day course.

    I truly believe that a change is going to come. It is time that we put old things away and become new. We must come to an understanding that eventhough we are different, we are not deficient

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  4. kim, pa

    i pray every remaining superdelegate goes to Clinton.

    i can not imagine anyone who has been under his influence to be anything but focused on this agenda of diversity. Obama has little experience and its become a campaign to free the slaves of discrimination.

    I thought that did happen already, but Wright still jumps around and damns our nation????

    For sure, McCain will win if Clinton doesn't get in and the Democrats will have failed our country.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  5. dti

    The man seems to be a bit hypocritical when talking about the fight against desegredation and then turning around and complaining that black children aren't supposed to be taught like white children because they are different. And saying it is acceptable for black children to jump up on their desks because that is just the way they are wired.
    Secondly, he makes bad comparisons to the difference in speech between white presidents and black children. Having an accent doesn't make for bad English, however, bad grammer does. Finally, he kept repeating that different is not difficient. When comparing whites and blacks, some of his comparisons seem to reflect that whites are deficient (with the way he portrayed their music for example)

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  6. DLF in Wisconsin

    FINALLY! Thank you CNN for having the courage to cover the Reverend Dr. Wright's speech in it's entirety.

    The NAACP has fulfilled it's role and provided an opportunity and venue for Rev. Wright to respond to the shameful coverage that has portrayed him as a hate-monger and without substance.

    CNN has fulfilled it's role by covering, rather than making, the news.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  7. Danielle Clarke Phila Pa burbs

    Wow Rev wright should be the nations spritual leader.

    the spinners can't spin his education and abilities but oh how they will try

    yet they will fall flat on their faces..

    REV WRIGHT i say amen amen amen
    God has sent you to open up the eyes of the closed and narrow minded people of the usa


    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  8. Marilyn

    I can relate to Rev. Wright's speech about the differences in black and white cultures. In 1965, I was the only black in a racist white school in South Carolina. It was very difficult for me to adapt to the white culture. We two races are different in culture but not as people. We blacks were talk to survive and the white race was taught to strive. We have always kept the beat on 2 and 4 and the whites 1 and 3. But, it doesn't matter because if you put all the beats together we are whole. 4/4 beats equal a whole. We need to come together as one as Dr. Wright said. There is nothing wrong with either culture we just learn from each other and teach our children to get along. In the church, there is a difference, but there is only one God and what Wright is say, it doen't matter what religion, we serve the same God. Religion wasn't an issuse in past presidential campaign until Obama looks like he is about to be nominated and because he is black. White preachers were never looked at when the White candidate was running for this high office. A person's religion shouldn't matter because there is only one God. I enjoyed the speech and hope that the speech is not turned around into something negative but positive. Many religious leaders and people of faith are given a vision of what God is going to do for them. That is what Wright is saying when there is going to be a change. God has spoken to him and there is nothing scary about that. God gave Wright and other preachers the responsibility to teach his flock the word and through him he is able to delivery the word from God to the people. So Wright is just passing this information to the world from God to let them know that there will be a change. It could be for the good or it could be for the bad. Only God knows what this change is going to be. Can we accept change? If we can, there is a lot to do to get to that point and that takes pulling together as a race and family.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  9. Tell It Like It Is

    Rev. Wright is fullly aware of the varying opinions people have of him based on the excerpts from his recorded sermons. His pleas of unfairness are now answered by himself.

    He has done little to ease the contradictions of his profession with his messages. I am not obligated to look any further into his heart or make exceptions for him because of his past experience or ethnicity.

    He has spoken with great notoriety and exposure. This man has contempt in his message and intends to exact a measure of retribution from those that will allow. He has succeeded with many.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  10. bill

    wow, that was enlighteneing

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  11. Geraldine Goodson

    Excellent decision to air the full speech. Let every man make his/her decision and move on. As for me, I new from the outset that Rev. Wright was on point with his message. Thank you for airing this speech !!!!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  12. AZ

    Okay. I think it is amazing that this guy has become the "voice" and "face" of what the African-American church is. First, to focus on the development of one race (which he does) is highly offensive. Well, white Americans have done it. What is more shocking, is that he doesn't mind saying it.

    I respect the idea that he wants to justify who he is and uphold his legacy. He talked on different means different and not deficient. Then why can't he understand that being White is different, so why criticize those who learn on the left side of the brain.

    He is ultra critical of the white-race because he wears 1960 on his shoulder. He thinks in some way that by electing Obama kind of makes amends for the wrong in which whites have done. "A Change Is Gonna Come" is all about electing a Black president, not so much about Black people or the uniting of all people.

    I respect Rev. Wright and I will always see him as preacher and teacher of GOd's word, which he does very well. But his statements on race and justice are far from the truth. The more so represent this "Progressive Black" agenda that promotes African Americans over everything else. Not as equal, but as better.

    It seems if BLacks can't be on top, then there must be something wrong.

    "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood.....

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  13. Reality Check

    Good, the more people that hear this hate-mongering lunatic speak the better.

    The more people that hear this anti-Semite imply that Obama is just saying what Obama needs to say to get elected the better.

    The more people that realize just off off-the-wall this racist manipulator is, and just how big an impact he had on Obama's young life the more people will see why Hillary Clinton leads the popular vote of Democrats and Independents in America.

    Hillary in '08 – the only candidate who cares what ALL Americans have to say.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  14. Paul in Oregon

    Any one that slams Rev. Wright, must see being different as being deficient.

    Here is a man that served his country, was educated and ministered to the poor.

    I am from the United Church of Christ and as a White, I would be so very proud to have attended his Church.

    This guy is scary because he asks us to look with in and realize that being black is not dificient, rather different.

    He is not loony rather he shows humor and insight. Yes this is scary because he asks us to look within and understand difference is not bad.

    He sees a change and thank God that the change will be us seeing that we are all part of GOD's kingdom and it isn't just a White perspective, a Black perspective, but GOD's perspective.

    And I am not some wild eyed liberal or some uneducated person. I am a rather conservative economist and I was inspired.

    Oh and we should be scared of him because he believe that we as a human race can change for the better. Now that is a horrible thing .... Isn't it????

    Billary's followers will hate him because he is educated, speaks 5 languages, and oh my served this country.

    I am sick of people that think being educated and speaking with eloquence as being eletist.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  15. Judy

    I did not find Dr. Wright or Dr. Anthony to be humble or godly in any form that is taught in the “Holy Bible”.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  16. Wendy

    Looking at some of these comments, this is why this country will remain the same. Instead of listening to the words some was listening to how they were delivered. Instead of trying to understand a culture its being described as loony. He is a animated african american pastor which they all are at some point and those were some of the differences he was trying to point out. This is a man who served this country for 6 years as a marine. He didn't go on leave and not return like your current president. If you had listened to the words of the speech it was about a change where all religions, cultures, races would get to know each instead of passing judgement because one culture or race is different. For those of you saying your not going to vote for Obama because of this man, you were probably never going to vote for him anyway. More than likely your reasoning for not voting for him is something different from what you are willing to say on this blog.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  17. Robert Wiseman

    No matter what anyone says at this point, it is revisionist with respect to the Rev. Wright's sermons and the parts of those sermons that have been publicized to date. There is no doubt that there is much that is wrong with this world, but those who profess to Christian beliefs and don't also have a strong political agenda don't speak in the phrases and tone used by Rev. Wright. As worthwhile as some of his message and actions are, there is much in what he preaches that promotes division.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  18. Drew

    Great Speech, congarats Rev. Wright you did great!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  19. Jean Majury


    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  20. C. Jenkins

    Kudos to Rev. Wright

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  21. martha washington

    One man's desire for his 15 minutes of fame, what a shame ... congratulations hillary !

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  22. 1st American in Minneapolis

    CNN, with your decision to broadcast much of Rev. Wright's speech tonight live on air, you've finally distanced yourself from Inside Edition, TMZ, Extra, The Insider, ET, etc. that you've been becoming harder and harder to distinguish yourself from as of late.

    A very inspiring speech from Rev. Wright and a inside look at the Christian experience for many African Americans in this country. As a American Indian, I found the speech full of hope and truths that we've long felt and known to be true. However, in this racialized American society, overdue for true reconcilliation, it will scare the crap out of most Americans not descendants of the historically victimized and oppressed.

    As a society less than a generation removed from state sponsored segregation, forced integration, forced assimilation, etc. there are are hard truths out there that most people would rather not hear. Truth hurts and it is easy for most to turn away and put their heads in the sand, or lash out and decry the supposed offender and call for sanctioning or banishment.

    In the era of modern day politics, these truths often are twisted for the benefit of the fear mongering, status quo that government has become. While Rev. Wright's speech will resonate with those who truly understand it, the upcoming reactions will speak to the sorry state of race relations in this country when it's contents will inevitably be turned into political fodder while others will have their knee jerk reactions to it and move to condemn.

    Once again, congratulations to CNN for finally getting their objectivity and journalistic instincts back by airing his speech live.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  23. dana marie

    Thank you for airing Rev. Wright's entire speech. It was abundantly clear that he was not the man he was made out to be by others. It was a fantastic speech and I was highly energized by his enthusiasm and hope for our future as a united people.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  24. Keith

    As a lifelong Catholic, I am very surprised at the justification by your correspondents for Rev. Wright's outrageous behavior.

    Making jokes this weekend about a black woman in the white house 'legally' for the first time....come on.

    Most of America, and I imagine Sen. Obama, is cringing.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  25. bettyVA

    I'm impressed with this CNN broadcast. But it has not taken Rev. Wright to convience me a change is coming. How will BO make a change? Will he and Dean change the face of congress by making red states purple and electing new people in the Congress? Folks a liberal change like no one has ever seen is on the way if were not careful with our vote, and let this campaine go on so that we can learn more about BO. The congressmen that are supporting BO should take another look at this young man. I sure would like to see his Pass Port.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:48 pm |
  26. Divine

    Listening to Wright, I'd see why Obama "sat there for 20 years". I will sit "there" for the next 20 years, if he were here in Rochester, N.Y.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  27. Marjorie

    This white woman from a small southern town–was moved to tears.
    Now, I'm sure the pundits will be busy telling us what it was we thought we heard, but thanks to CNN for letting us hear the real thing.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  28. Ann

    I am appalled that CNN is going to make such a stir over this man's speech. I listened to the entire thing and could hear the hate all through it. If this is the man Obama has considered his "spiritual advisor" for the last 20 years...that is SCARY! And if Americans do not read between the lines, they may just get a change,,,,and one they were not counting on!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  29. Vig

    Rev. Wright's histronics and theatrical stage presence eclipses any substantive message he may want to imprint. I also find it ironic that he did not speak to the killings in his own back yard this past week whose victims and victimizers are mostly Black. While he builds his multimillion mansion, how many Blacks live in poverty and dispair?

    I have more respect for someone like Bill Cosby who imparts a social message and seems genuinely bothered by the violence perpetrated by Blacks and the high drop out rates. Someone who doesn't need a pulpit to aggrandize himself.

    Obama and Wright have more of a stage presence then an advocacy message.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  30. Wes

    GREAT Speech . If we heard the whole speech which was played on you tube this wouldn't have been such a big deal.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  31. joel

    Thank you for posting the speech in its entirety. I don't know if I was more moved by the introduction or by the speech - both were highly valuable to balance out the "snipet" approach. The white isolation from the black church is exactly the problem that most of the negative response to Wright has come from. From earlier comments I can see that exposure doesn't bring affection - but at least it allows for a fairer tone (even if much response remains racist).

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  32. Katheryn

    What a wonderful speech by the Reverend Wright. at the NAACP. I am impressed by his education and entertainment. He is a very smart person. Maybe this will put to rest about the Black church and Barack Obama. I am voting for Barack for sure.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  33. Diane Villeneuve

    OK, we now know that Rev Wright is not a hater and anti-American. But what he preached is not that helpful–in a Euro-American society, the majority of black people ARE deficient; that is, they can't survive well in the environment, just as I would be completely deficient if I tried to live in sub-Saharan Africa. If you're going to live and thrive here, regardless of color, you need to study and become literate and stay out of jail and raise your children without violence. It's all about social skills, not race.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  34. cynthia

    Maybe some American's are afraid to hear the truth. People are more open to talk about the difference in races and how the world is changing. This change may be new but it is wat's needed. Those that turn the channel may be afraid to hear the truth & that the world is changing. For those that attend black churches, he is not crazy & looney. As Rev Wright said, " all people do not learn in the same way." this is the black churches way to communicate to their people. Go to a black church one Sunday & open your mind to other cultures. Everyone has their own way of getting their point across and this is Rev. Wrights.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm |
  35. Donna

    WHO CARES!!!!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  36. Chuck Gerber

    Thank you for reporting the complete speech of The Rev.Jeremiah Wright instead of those completely unfair soundbites we have seen thus far.
    You Have done right and corrected a wrong with regard to your previous partial reporting.
    I commend you for it!
    As I am just a white Canadian so I have no say in your election, but have been very excited about the prospect of political change in the USA and by extension in the world, particularly if Obama would get the final nod.
    Please keep reporting fairly, as we all know we should.
    Thank you again!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  37. Larry

    If you listened to Rev. Wright with an opinion firmly planted in your mind that the man is raciest and a loon, than you probably heard exactly what you already knew. Your opinion has been firmly planted, and you will have listened with ears tainted by endless loops of media and talk-show hosts telling you what you want to hear.

    However, if you approached this event with an honest, well-thought bent of mind, you would have heard a man who is firmly grounded in the love of Christ, and with a very realistic view of the our great nation's diversity, and the challenges we all face.

    Perhaps it is painful to examine our own hearts, and our own motives. That's a hard thing to do for anyone. Yet, hopefully Americans can rise above our own fixations, and see that Wright is not a demon.

    Can we move beyond a house divided against itself, and learn to honor and respect views and opinions that do not fit with our own?

    April 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  38. Juliana Franklin

    Great speech!! Very educational. I would attend his sermons more than 20 years. !! (I am white with jewish origins),He speaks about respect to each other, about developing mutual understanding . I believe in these concepts.
    I hope that many people with different backgrounds and religious belifs were willing to listen and reflect. Let's hope that superdelegates will pick Obama!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  39. Janet J - WV

    WOW! What a powerful commentary by an extremely well read, well educated individual. Not only did he back his comments by documented studies from top education and linguistic research/professors, historical data relating to the white and black race, he backed his comments by those of the Bible. Why is it that so many people are threatened by an extraordinary person of color? He is truly a powerful orator who is consice and articulate in his delivery of message.

    I just completed a graduate course where many of the points Rev. Dr. Wright made were the common theme in two of the course textbooks. It is a fact that everything has been measured by the Euro-American standard and anything that is different from that measurement is considered abnormal or deficient. Previous commentors that have referred to Dr. Wright as a "looney," or "crazy," you need to pick up a book and read about the foundations of culture and diversity as it relates to the formation of this country. Information that is still relevant today.

    Thank you Dr. Wright for clarifying that different is not deficient, just simply different. Let's learn to embrace, celebrate, enjoy, and learn from the diversity of this great country. Thank you CNN for your decision to bring this broadcast live to your viewers.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  40. Bill

    I heard his speech and felt he is a total racist. I hope people can see through all this trash. We need people to take to responsibility for their actions ,not excuses because we are different. We know we are different. That is why I won't vote for Obama.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  41. Fatou

    I am so inspired by what i have seen on CNN a few moments ago... the words of Jeremiah Wright. It is a speech that everyone can benefit from whatever your race, religion or creed. I have never heard anything this inspirational in my entire life on TV. I have only been here in the US for a week and it is only now that i fully understand why Obama would be inspired by a man like this. Wow...thumps up for CNN for covering this in its entirety. Go Sanchez, it is going be a long night!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  42. Curt

    For what earthly reason is CNN wasting all of this time, giving coverage to this racist hate mongering hypocrite ? Rehab perhaps? I think it's a little too late. The cat is out of the bag and this guy is worse than a cancer.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  43. Chris

    I think the media owes this man an apology for what was done to him. The media would rather report on what "sells" rather then reporting the truth no matter who is getting hurt. This speech given by Wright today was so impressive and well thought out. It shows us once again what America is all about, we are all different and that it is ok to be different.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:43 pm |
  44. Sue

    I just spent the last 1/2 hour listening to Rev. Wright's "stirring and inspiring" speech–if you would call it that. The man is scary and potential political suicide for any candidate. I realize he is a learned man, with his degrees and the languages he speaks....but poking fun at the some of the past leaders we have had was classless and very bigoted. Just goes to show you can't teach a man anything!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  45. Jewel Thomas

    I am so proud of CNN for airing this speech. This demonstrates CNN's resolve to provide fair and non-discriminatory reporting. This was the first time I have been able to see a balanced presentation of Rev. Wright which now enables me to have a balanced opinion of him. I applaud your network and will now continue to be a supportive viewer. I was just about to stop watching all cable news because of what I perceived to be targeted biased journalism. You have just changed my opinion. THANK YOU!
    Jewel from Pennsylvania

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  46. Ali

    It seems to me that Rev. Wright showed the world who he really is – a dynamic, intellegent pastor who tells the truth. It saddens me that many White Americans will not get, will not want to get, or just doesn't understand what he is trying to say. Like Rev. Wright said, "We're not difficient, we're different."

    I say to some White Americans, "You don't want to get it, you don't want to understand the struggle of non-White Americans, and you (may) believe that ignorance is bliss... but my my, a CHANGE is coming!"

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  47. TrthToPowerIn08

    Thank you for taking the time to show us his full speech. He is a very insightful man of God. This is the time for all of us to learn from eachother. We are all created in Gods image.

    The slogan for 2008 should be Different is not Deficient!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  48. Ellyn Baumann

    Thank you so much, CNN, for running this speech the first time and a second time. It's well worth seeing at least once and more than once. Wow! Such power in words and truth! Glory to God!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  49. Tamara/Stone Mountain

    What a joke! Listening to Roland and Soladad pleading Rev Wright's case is ridiculous. Roland in a dress is even more special. CNN has lost it..I am not sure how much money the Obama campaign is giving them.

    Rev Wright need to give it up and go disappear for Obama. Talk about EGO. WOW

    April 27, 2008 at 9:42 pm |
  50. rosecoloredglass

    Somewhere the spin doctors are meeting; and they'll be needed. YIKES

    April 27, 2008 at 9:41 pm |
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