As background, Obama spoke of "Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments" which "helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white..."
"A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families - a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened...
This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.
...for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table...
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews."
One would think from the Obama race speech that Jeremiah Wright was born into the very poorest of circumstances, lived a horrid life of abject poverty and want, and lived in something akin to plantation slave quarters.
Wright's story, however, is something quite different. Jeremiah Wright was born in a 1941 Philadelphia mixed race neighborhood. Germantown boasted of broad tree-lined streets and middle class families. His father, one the first blacks with a degree from the Philadelphia Lutheran Theological Seminary, was the pastor at Grace Baptist Church. His school teacher mother was the first black teacher of academics at Roosevelt Junior High, Germantown High, and Philadelphia High School for Girls where, in 1968, she became vice-principal.
Jerry Wright did not attend any of those schools, though. He bussed himself several miles to the elite Central High which admitted only the most qualified and privileged. Wright matriculated in 1959. During his years of attendance, Central High was 90% white and 75% of those were Jewish. Former students, like Bill Cosby, say that racial tensions were not part of school life.
Jerry declined his student deferment and signed on with the US Marine Corps, and served in the 2nd Marine Division in 1963. After 2 years, he transferred to the US Navy to become a Corpsman. He graduated Corpsman School as salutatorian and was awarded a spot on the LBJ presidential medical team where he received three commendations.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright has retired from the Trinity United Church of Christ. He will live out the sunset of his years in a million-dollar home given to him by the Church as a gift. The home is adjacent to Odyssey Country Club and Golf Course in Tinley Park, an almost all white Chicago suburb. Wright purchased the land for $345,000 in 2004, then sold the land to the Church that immediately mortgaged the property for $1.6 million. The 10,340 square feet brick home, about 4 times the size of the average suburban house, has four bedrooms, a four car garage, an elevator, and an exercise room.
Not bad for a man who started life as a poor black child who grew rich selling religion and hate. I'm just glad he wasn't selling drugs and guns; he could have done some real damage.
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.