The Influence of the Black Pulpit on Political Oratory

Let me start this article by clearing stating that it is not intended to be political, nor is it an attempt to be an endorsement of a particular political party or individual. The goal here is to articulate the degree to which we see an undeniable influence of the Black Church in general, and the Black Pulpit in particular, on the delivery and content that is exhibited by public servants who call the Black community their home.

Without a doubt, what I am suggesting here does not apply to all Black politicians, but in light of what we have seen this past month, after the turmoil of selecting a Speaker of the House of Representatives, it can not be denied that the long arm of the Black Pulpit has found its way into the halls of congress.

Anyone who watched the speech of Democrat Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, after 15 ballots to determine who would serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, can not help but say “the brother took America to church”.

The cadence, rhythm, alliteration, allegory and oratory made Americans across the country sit up and take note that we very well may have witnessed the greatest political speech of the year. Not since the days of Barack Obama has the country been treated to the genius that was on full display, well after midnight, Friday, January 6, 2023, ironically on the second year anniversary of the January 6th Insurrection.

Without a doubt there have been Black pulpiteers who have served in congress prior to Hakeem Jeffries, including Adam Clayton Powell from Harlem, NY and Floyd Flake from Queens, NY. So it does not surprise us that another congressman from New York has captured the attention and imagination of the country. His references to what has already been accomplished rather than what the democrats are proposing to do in the future was a stark contrast from the speech presented later in the evening.

Members of the Black Pulpit can be proud that the tradition that has sustained and carried our communities across the abyss of uncertainty and dangers of the past is now being used to speak truth to power and continue the legacy of Black activism on one of the most powerful platforms in the land. We salute the honorable Mr. Jeffries on not only a job well done, but on reminding those of us of the clothe that the style and tradition of what we do Sunday after Sunday has found a new home in the halls of congress.

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