Express Yourself

Barack Obama went back to (the black) church during his Tucson speech as he brought good news about Gabby Giffords – “She opened her eyes! She opened her eyes! She opened her eyes!” His little improvisation reminded me of Al Sharpton’s gospel triad at Michael Jackson’s funeral – “Michael never stopped! Michael never stopped! Michael never stopped!” In the following piece, Nick Salvatore – author of the biography of the great African-American preacher C.L. Franklin, “Singing in a Strange Land” – meditates on Franklin’s singular contribution to the tradition that’s helped shape Obama’s best “black and more than black” self (and songs). B.D.

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