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. Jean


    April 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  2. Eddie

    Looking for a hockey game and accidentally went to CNN. I had a good laugh and enjoyed the uninterrupted chance to get to know the Reverend. My Sundays would be exciting in his church. Thanks CNN! I'll see the hockey highlights tomorrow!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  3. Fiona Reid

    Great speech! Finally we've been given the opportunity to see a three dimensional view of Reverend Wright vs the one dimensional clips that have been aired over the past weeks and you know what? He's not scary – he makes good sense and says things we should all pay attention to by appreciating difference instead of thinking of "other" as deficient. I think this will help people understand why Obama held the Reverend Wright in such high regard.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  4. Carla Ontario Canada

    So are we going to spend the next week dissecting rev wright's speech? I hope not. Just free publicly for him and his book.
    Would we even be having this conversation if his comments had not come out? Like Obama says just another distraction.
    When will the media cover the real issues.
    Hillary 08

    April 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  5. cj

    Rev. Wright is not running for President!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  6. eileen

    I thought his speech was good until I heard his very quiet little jab at the irish, right after he said "are you listening O'reilly? I was.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  7. Karen Las Vegas

    I wish Rev. Wright were here in Las Vegas. He is one of the first preachers I have heard who is not afraid to speak the truth!

    We all want to believe that there is separation of Church and State in this country of ours. Remember that this came not so much the Church controlling the State but from the State controlling the Church. And that is what has been happening here. As soon as the Clinton campaign made the Wright sound bytes public, the State, through it's corporate media, has been trying to control the Church, via Rev. Wright. If you polled all religious leaders in this country, I am sure it would show that most do not approve of the way Rev. Wright has been treated. None of them want to be controlled and told what to say behind their pulpit.

    Many of us are living in this country because our ancesters were escaping religious persecution. If we continue to allow the persecution here, a country founded on freedom of speech and religion, where can we possibly go to be free from harm.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  8. Allen

    The tragedy with our society today is that we have a compliant church, black ,brown or white. What Dr Wright just said is not good for people whose eyes do not see or imagine heaven . People who are not devoted Christians will surely not recognize that God owns the earth and all in the universe. Therefore those people will assume that Rev. Wright is wrong in telling the world that if "America thinks she is God", then let America be damned by God. Unfortunately, that is true Biblically and God will mete out his justice to all who do not follow his commandments.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  9. Micahel Guinn Ventura,CA

    I watched the NAACP honor Rev. Wright tonight, then LISTENED to him speak. In a word, AMAZING! I have a much different view of him since I took the time to listen.
    Kudos to CNN for airing this. I think the media frenzy over the UTube spinnets had many of us reeling. It was offensive to many of us.
    I am glad I listened and hope that millions of others did as well.
    I hope you re-air it so that more can see it.
    Thanks again!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  10. gomez

    Why does Rev. Wright have to mock the way people speak in order to
    say that blacks have a different way of speaking? What a nightmare for Obama and for all democrats! Rev. Wright is not going to go away.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  11. paula

    REV.WRIGHT speech was a very true speech.I understood everything he was saying .I am a white american and Rev.Wright spoke the truth.
    I enjoyed ever minute of it. Rev.Wright is a very funny REV.
    I am voting for Obama we do need change and it is comming and i want to be apart of it.
    Thank you cnn. for showing the whole speech.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  12. dian

    Rowland, Rev. Wright's speech was excellent! I am an educator and Jocobus is wrong. We are aware of how important it is to differentiate instruction because children learn differently. It took a while for educators to realize this, we now know children have different learning strengths and, we are now learning how to meet the instructional needs of all children. Learning styles are different not deficient! The instruction that was being delivered to children was deficient. Our motto: Not one method fits all!

    I really enjoyed listening to Rev. Wright. It's obvious that he is a brilliant, humorous,gifted man of God! This should not hurt Barack Obama.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  13. Theresa

    Thank you CNN for your complete coverage of the magnificent introduction by Rev. Anthony and heartfelt, humorus, down to earth message of Dr. Rev. Jeriamah Wright. His speech was very enlightening and enjoyable. Yes, America a change is coming its inevitable. Listen to the messege and not the messeger if you are discontented of this intelligent, charismatic and eloquent Man of the clergy. To Thine Own Self Be True.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  14. Brenda Alston

    Isn't it amazing how quick some folks are to critizize and assume.
    I wonder how many soundbites CNN and others will take and loop over and over again to once again, for ratings? Knowing that it merely divides America. Rev. Wright's entire sermon should have been played from the beginning or not at all. I will no longer trust what I see and hear from any soundbites played. I think so much more of Rev. Wright, and so much less of "news media" or should I say poor entertainment media. Hats off to PBS and Bill Moyers. The last of class. Whats up with Sanchez on CNN, his first comments after only a few minutes of Rev. Wright were erroneous adjectives, such as ..angry. Thank God for Solidad who rightly corrected him, also hats off to Roland. Imagine how unfair and downright wrong the commentary would be without them. Balance, fairness and truth go along way. Rev. Wright is obviuosly highly intelligent, multilingual, multidegreed, patriotic, and respected Pastor. He may not be correct on all things, but he certainly is correct on most. Keep on preaching Rev. Wright, for no weapon formed against you shall prosper.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  15. ElliotNC

    Soledad should be toast. For over an hour, she spun and spun, calling the speech "hilarious" and "LOL funny" at least 15 times. Roland was stretching, but Soledad was shameful. When a guest with some actual credentials gets on the line, finally, Soledad played the interrupt game like O'Reilly, to add, once again, "it was hilarious."


    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  16. David. Los Angeles

    It's about time for someone to speak for the African American churches of America and the Christian religion

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  17. Rachel

    In addition, as an educator, it is well documented that African-American children learn differently than white. Girls tend to assimilate easier than boys, which is one reason why many black males do not complete high school. But if you're not in it – you wouldn't know that. Just a fact. And another fact is that if the model of education changed, then urban youth of color would probably excel further.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  18. J. Harper

    I was invigorated, encouraged and charged to hear Rev. Wright's talk on CNN. It is about time we in this country recognized that we are all different and as such we deserve to be respected for those differences. As a white female teacher, I agree with a lot of what Rev. Wright said. He finally got to speak for himself. And I will vote for Obama if he is nominated by the Democratic party.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  19. Dennis Fischer

    As a caucasian American and registered Republican, I was greatly impressed with Rev. Jeremiah Wright's speech in Detroit. His theme of African-American culture being different and not deficient was most excellent and relevent.

    Dennis Fischer
    Lincoln, Nebraska USA

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  20. J Stewart

    I hope this shows people how unacceptable the treatment of Rev. Wright has been in the media. Seeing the brilliance of Rev. Wright must silence as well as chasten all those who have so viciously villified him based on distorted information.
    It seems that someone in the media would have listened to his colleagues who defended him. They knew what they were talking about. He is inspiring.
    CNN is to be commended for broadcasting this event. It is disturbing and sad that there are as many people as there are whose mentality prevents them from benefiting from this opportunity.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  21. Dianne Niemann

    My husband and I don't ordinarily watch your channel at this time, but a friend called and alerted us. Thank you for showing this insightful view into Rev. Wright's analysis of the state of race relations in
    our country. There were no surprises and i appreciated his scholarship and spirited delivery of what most of us know to be true about human learning and expression; we manifest our culture.

    My husband and I have been teachers for over 30 years and are well acquainted with the work of Howard Gardner concerning individual learning styles. Having just returned from Maui we are priveieged to know that Cirque de Soleil on the Hawaiian Islands expresses itself differently than it does in France. or even Las Vegas. Vive la Difference. Thank you for letting this spirit express itself. I will continue to watch and support those sponsers whose products we can afford.
    Your friends,
    Dianne & Doug

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  22. barbara Williams

    Leave Rev. Wright alone.. you seem petty, devisive and racist. We, Black people who understand liberation theology, understand exactly what he is saying and it does not mean we/he hate America .. he just points out the "warts" and we can't fix what we don't acknowledge Listen.. learn... change what is wrong so we all can benefit and have a "more perfect union". Obama! now!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  23. Jennie

    I was very moved by Reverend Wright's speech. If you've never attended a house of worship different than the one you grew up in, you might have a hard time appreciating his knowledge of other faiths, and his solid grounding in Christianity. He is also highly erudite, has truly served his nation and community, and has received death threats because of sound bytes. At least he is able to craft a message in his own terms, not through the back door of some campaign strategist's violation of a candidates religious boundaries. I dare say, you might be equally offended by the sermons other candidates have listened to in their churches. But you won't hear them, because they are safe from having their boundaries violated that way by a political strategist who is working for the corporate shill.

    Thank you for at least providing a chance for the Reverend Wright to speak more fulsomely than carefully selected soundbytes. He was completely trashed before this speech, so many minds were prepared to encounter him negatively and will only see what they have been told to see, and hear what they have been told they should hear. That is the whole purpose of punditry.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  24. Shelly

    Thank you Rick Sanchez and CNN for running the entirety of Rev. Wright's inspiring speech to the NAACP. You have risen above the endless, shallow "commentary" of the pundits. Not only is Rev. Wright a former marine who proudly served his country, but he doesn't fear speaking truth to power–the most patriotic thing that Americans who love their country can do. He preaches tolerance among different races, different religions, different cultures, different socio-economic groups, different levels of education and styles of learning. The only intolerance I see in this good and intelligent man is an intolerance for injustice. He asks all of us to not to look on others as inferior, but to appreciate and celebrate our differences, to rejoice in our wonderfully diverse but common humanity, and to realize that each of us can make a committment to making this planet a better place for everyone. I could easily sit in a pew every Sunday for 20 years to listen to this man (I'm a middle-aged, white suburban woman, by the way). The media in general owe a huge apology to Rev. Wright and Senator Barack Obama for their unfair, shallow, lazy, and biased coverage of the "Wright controversy" in recent weeks.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  25. Carol Horn

    OH MY GOD – you couldn't get me to vote for Obama now after hearing that self-serving pastor of his with his big mouth.

    And CNN with that stupid girl - Soledad O'Brien (a real loon)

    Hillary is a lier and McCain is an old jerk!! Bush is a dummy–

    The press in this country is getting ridiculous and of late if very, very slanted and unfair in its reporting.

    Maybe this time I'll vote for Ralph Nadar.

    God, help our poor children -

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  26. Dcdotcom

    Rick Sanchez and now I see CNN is going to make this story more political than it should be. The problem with the way CNN is covering this story is that it is difficult to understand when the truth is spoken. As to whether it hurt or helps Barak Obama really dosen't matter anymore. That is what white America does not understand, it doesn't matter......................!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  27. Clarence

    I watched the speech and found it very impressive. I feel his approach with all the world watching was very tactical. I found nothing in his speech that was alarming, or controversial. I do not feel he has done any damage to Sen. Obama to be honest I think this actually helps clear up some off the false media reports about Rev. Wright. I have reviewed all of the comments posted and I am surprised that some people are still trying to find something negative. People we must understand that others have views, values and beliefs that are different and that is okay. That is what divesity is all about. We must embrace change NOW

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  28. J.E. Brown

    How could anyone not think that Dr. Wright didn't deliver a great speak. I didn't think he said anything that would upset anyone unless they have an agenda & try to twist his words. I, also, respect this man & I like him! He shares with all of us his beliefs & has the courage to say it how it is....most of the time.
    Why is it that the MSM & at least 90% of the politicians absolutely don't talk about "How it really is".;we're lied to, we're not told the truth, by not hearing about what the MSM/Politicians/Government don't want us to know. Oh, I almost forgot how you/THEM try to brainwash us.
    I would listen to Dr. Wright before I would listen to the above.
    I am not going to vote for any of the "3" main stream canadates.
    I am over 50,white, female, an Independent with a Bachelor Degree.
    I think it SHOULD help Obama.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  29. Johnette

    My husband and I feel that this speech was a setback for blacks and for Obama. It portrays blacks as clowns who dance and sing on "stage" with their bad diction and brains that learn differently. The tone is racist, though the semantics urge unification. This speech sounds false. My husband is embarrassed to go to work, afraid that nonblacks will view him as a dancing clown whose kids climb on furniture and have special learning needs. Some points Wright made were intelligent, but overall it was hamming it up for the "world stage" CNN gave him. Barack was probably ringing his cell phone during the speech, trying to shut him up. I'm a college educated black, but I voted for Hillary in Pennsylvania. Thank God I did! P.S. Roland Martin and Soledad O'Brien did not provide objective reporting!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  30. Gloria A. Ramirez

    Rev. Wright won me over with his speech at the NAACP banquet. He noted that "Todos somos inmigrantes." (We are all immigrants.) He pointed out that black children, [indeed, all children of color,] have different learning styles. He stressed that Arabic is not a religion but a language. He added that the only people that were not immigrants to this country are Native Americans. He had many things to say that resonated with me, a Chicana with Native roots in this country and an educator of young children. I know he spoke from a place of power, the power of truth. He challenged Americans of all ilks to reach beyond themselves and preconceived notions of citizenship and American ideals to embrace and understand differences so that we can all create the change that is needed in this country. I happen to be for Hillary Clinton and will support Obama if he is the democratic candidate. It is time for change but only we can create it!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  31. Brandon

    Great speech? One cannot argue that Rev. Wright is articulate, educated and a fantastic orator. But if we take everything Rev. Wright said tonight as fact. That whites and blacks are biologically different. That whites are left brained and blacks are right brained. What does he propose as a solution? That African Americans should be schooled differently? I think we had that before. It was called Segregation. People wake up!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  32. Cindy

    Americans are too smart to form our opinions on sound bites. I think it is smart of anyone to listen or read a story fully before forming a judgement. Please going forward, do yourself a favour listen fully, think about it before you conclude. DO NOT ALLOW THE PRESS TO SHAPE YOUR OPINION ON SOUND BITES. BE SMART.


    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  33. Evan Fowler

    What the Rev. just presented to the nation made a mockery of the CNN news station, nearly everything he said had nothing to back it up and was false. Not only is this speech extremely racist to any white who watched it, it makes a mockery of the black race as well. I am a staunch Democrat, Obama sat through 20 years of this morons extremely racist false statements, and has confessed that this man is his mentor, anybody who votes for Obama is voting for the beliefs of this moron. Thus, anyone who votes Obama, is anti-White, anti-reality, and anti-America. I will now vote McCain over Obama.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  34. Elaine

    Thank you CNN for allowing the ENTIRE speech to be heard. As for the many bloggers who are offended and are denouncing the words of Rev. Wright, you've confirmed your true identity. You simply don't get it and probably weren't going to support Senator Obama in the first place. Additionally its absolutely LUDICROUS and IGNORANT to define Senator Obama by someone else. You'd rather a BOLD LIAR like Senator Clinton over someone who is trying to help give back to YOU some semblance of control of your government. You'd rather the real ELITISTs like Senator Clinton (remember her houshold is the one reporting earnings in the hundreds of millions) over someone who can truly identify with the struggles of the average American. But its people like you who make this country the diverse melting pot that it has become. I'll pray for you anyway!!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  35. Carol memphis

    I don't think it was terribly classy for Wright to mock 2 former presidents' manner of speaking....... doesn't seem like he is following his own mantra of "difference not dificient" by making fun of JFK & LBJ. Any white person that got up & publicly made fun of black leaders in this capacity would be run out of town on a rail. He almost had a good message started but is such a hateful person he couldn't help himself...... would always slip back into his nasty, mean-spirited way of taunting. Obama must be beating his head against a brick wall tonight, wishing that he had thrown this idiot under the bus when he had the chance.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  36. Barbara Gammon

    I am grateful, at least that CNN alone, chose to show Rev. Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP dinner tonight. However, it would have been much more admirable if we had been allowed to hear the entire speech without constant breaks by Rick Sanchez with commentarty by Solidad O'Brien and Roland Martin. I think it would have been more appropriate to have such comments AFTER the conclusion of Rev. Wright's speech. But the speech was brilliant and I hope viewers, despite their political preference, will see it as such.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  37. MW Georgia

    Why can't people understand what this speech was all about. Did you not listen to the man. He is not some off the wall commentator. He was brilliant. I just hope all the negative people on this blog are not teaching your kids to hate so much.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  38. Pat in phoenix

    absolutely awesome
    I was so impressed!
    glad you aired it all

    April 27, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
  39. Mary S. Lewis

    Tonight's broadcast of all of Jeremiah Wright's speech shows just how important it is to here the whole thing and not just sound bites. While I didn't agree with everything he said, I found his speech inspiring and believe I understand him better. This is the sort of thing that cable news should do, especially CNN. But why did you bring in Cheri Jacobus, for heavens sake? Thank God for Soledad and Roland!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  40. Eugenie T.

    The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is brilliant. Barack Obama should be credited for knowing where to find insightful messages about our culture.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  41. tws

    Why are so many offended and hoping the remaining super delegates go to Clinton..this was not a political speech...he said he was there to discuss the NAACP's theme for 2008..."A Change is Going to Come"...if u changed your channel or no longer like Obama due to a speech then so be it...you obviously were not listening and had formed an opinion before the speech started...open your eyes people...a change is coming.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  42. Mrs. V. Davenport

    It is amazing that Ms. Shari Jacobus is so blind to truth. African Americans have know for a long time that we do learn in different ways. I can't see how an intelligent woman can be so confused when truth is relayed with factual substance. I further note that this is not the Obama Camp speaking to us, it is Rev. Jeremiah Wright!
    She is in denial if she thinks the Wright story would defuse itself. The media to which she contributes won't let it die!!!!

    April 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  43. W. A. Hedge

    First, I want commend CNN for having the courage to broadcast the speech of the Dr. Reverend Jeremiah Wright at the annual Freedom Fund banquet of the NAACP. I do not know your intent, but, what may have been thought of to be negative, turn out as positive. Because of your coverage of this meesage, the world will see Reverend Wright as a Christian preacher of Jesus Christ. CNN has set a new standard for television journalism.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  44. R.J. Stewart

    Of course the republican strategist want to put it out that Rev Wright's speec will hurt Obama. They are dead wrong. People who listened carefully will now know the "real" Rev. Wright and can think outside the box and see the background of his messages and have an analytical conclusion not provided by snipets that were taken out of context.

    It is prayerful that many more americans can now see more clearly the inside of the Black Church. It is not divisive, it is different.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  45. Tina Simms

    I was glad to hear Rev. Wright.....now that I have heard him speak I consider him to be very entertaining, well-informed, and passionate about his beliefs.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  46. Pat

    Rev. Wright speech was great!!! People should stop trying to find any reason to said that they will not vote for Obama was not vote for him anyway . It is strange that some people cannot understand the African-American pastor; Would anybody be interested in Rev. Wright if Obama was not running for POTUS. His speech was for the NAACP not for people who are looking for a reason to demonized Obama

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  47. Sharon, Seattle

    I'm white, I'm not religious but I sure do admire and respect Reverend Wright! It was a wonderful speech, a wonderful message but sadly, I see that some weren't paying attention.

    The talk of change was the theme for the NAACP dinner yet some here chose to believe it to be some sort of secret takeover of the political process. They are the ones who believe those 30 second sound bites and no matter what they hear after, it just won't change their minds.

    Thank you CNN for showing the whole speech and for your continuing coverage of it this evening. I sure didn't expect to see that.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  48. Bill

    This man is a racist. If a Caucasian man mocked the way African Americans spoke, danced and clapped their hands there would be warcrys. I'm ashamed that people find this acceptable. I was also suprised he referred to Native Americans as "Indians" as well... Bad Form...

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  49. Joyce

    Uplifting speech. Thank you CNN for broadcasting Rev. Wright's entire speech. This is what CNN does best!

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  50. Y

    Rev. Wright is a Genius! Wow. He is educating America. I pray we all have ears to hear and a heart to receive. This is a very exciting time in American History.

    April 27, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
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