Biden preaches message of redeeming America’s soul during visit to MLK’s hometown church

By: - January 16, 2023 4:05 pm

President Joe Biden was the first sitting president to preach from the pulpit at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sunday. Screenshot courtesy of C-SPAN and Maryland Matters.

Democratic President Joe Biden took to the pulpit Sunday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. once delivered many powerful and eloquent sermons in the final years of his life.

With an invitation from Ebenezer pastor and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, Biden on Sunday became the first sitting president to preach from the pulpit of downtown Atlanta church on what would’ve been the 94th birthday for the slain civil rights leader. Biden’s speech was about the hard path it takes to achieve necessary changes, which exemplifies King’s struggle for equality for Black people.

Despite King’s death at 39 years old, Biden said King’s legacy endures because he remained optimistic while understanding that progress was never easy. The leader of the civil rights movement preached powerful sermons and spread his call for nonviolent social change across many cities before his assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Biden on Sunday reflected on some of the social and racial progress made in recent years, including Ketanji Onyika Brown Jackson becoming the first Black woman to become a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

The president also encouraged people to emulate King’s traits as the fight for justice continues.

“It’s always possible that things do get better, in our march toward a more perfect union,” Biden said. “But at this inflection point, we know there’s a lot of work that has to continue in economic justice, civil rights, voting rights, and protecting our democracy. And I’m remembering that our job is to redeem the soul of America.”

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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap is a reporter at the Georgia Recorder, part of the nonprofit States Newsroom that includes the Florida Phoenix. Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis.

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