Revs. Lowery, Vivian and Harry Belafonte speak at St. Sabina

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A few days after Barack Obama’s historic inauguration, the Revs. Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian, and actor Harry Belafonte spent time in Chicago, including visiting a South Side church. The trio engaged in a roundtable discussion at St. Sabina Church

A few days after Barack Obama’s historic inauguration, the Revs. Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian, and actor Harry Belafonte spent time in Chicago, including visiting a South Side church.

The trio engaged in a roundtable discussion at St. Sabina Church on the civil rights struggle and what the Obama presidency meant to them.

Lowery, a former Chicagoan who began his pivotal role in the civil rights movement in the 1950s, gave the benediction at the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony.

He helped lead the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott after Rosa Parks’ arrest for sitting in the front of the bus and for not giving up her seat to a white person. One month after the boycott ended, Lowery and Martin Luther King Jr. started the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Obama’s election is a step in the right direction, but King’s dream has not been completely fulfilled.There is still work that must be done, Lowery told the congregation on Jan. 23.

“I talked about Black getting back. That was a verse of hope. That one day Black would not be asked to get back. Brown could stick around. Yellow would be mellow and white would do what’s right,” the 87-year-old said, referring to words he stressed at the end of his blessing at the inauguration.

As he looked out from the dais and down to the Lincoln Memorial, Lowery remembered King in 1968 issuing his call to America to move beyond the restrictions of race and color to a higher ground of character and competence.

“I saw the inauguration as the nation’s response to that call,” Lowery said, “but we must continue to move ahead.”

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