Noted as the dean of the Civil Rights Movement for his legendary work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Rev. Joseph Lowery told a gathering of civic and community leaders in Detroit Sunday evening that President Obama ushered in a new reality for the nation and the world.

Lowery, who gave the benediction at Obama’s historic inauguration as the first Black president of the United States, was speaking Dec. 6 at Fellowship Chapel for the Peace and Justice Banquet hosted by Central United Methodist Church.

Lowery said America has had  three fathers before the dawn of Obama, citing George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. King. He further went on to say that “I would argue that Obama is the fourth father of the nation. I believe that God in His infinite wisdom seeks time and time again to help us and give us a new beginning.”

Central United Methodist Church, which held the banquet that is now in its fifth year to honor individuals who are fighting for social justice causes, also used the occasion to begin the church’s 200-year anniversary.

“You have the challenge to make the next 200 years more powerful,” Lowery said. “Each of us has a calling as particular members of the community of faith and members of the coalition of the conscious. I challenge you to not let this call pass.”

Lowery, who was one of the first leaders of the Civil Rights Movement to come out early in the campaign to support the candidacy of President Obama, certainly does not his choice.

“I supported Barack early not because I was so smart but because God was giving us a new beginning,” Lowery said. “When we fought for voting rights in the 1960s, none of us ever dreamed we would live to see this day.”

Lowery cited examples of how he would  visit college campuses in 2007 talking to students and faculty members about Obama and his promise of a new America.

This year Lowery was among an array of international icons at the White House including former South African Archbishop and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

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