Race took center stage Wednesday at the inauguration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, with one minister who peppered his invocation with slavery references comparing New York City to a “plantation,” and singer Harry Belafonte decrying racial injustices as “Dickensian.”
“Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness,” Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., said during his invocation.
“Elevate our valleys. Make low our mountains. Make our crooked places straight and our rough places smooth. Oh God, oh God, oh God, break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.”
Furthering his slavery analogy, the cleric said:
“Oh God, on this first day of January-the anniversary of the first Emancipation Proclamation-sound forth the trumpets of heaven proclaiming a new Emancipation Proclamation in New York City.
“From your divine leadership, emancipate every New Yorker from the shackles of fear, futility and frustration …. Oh God, end the civil wars and usher in a new Reconstruction Era that builds upon the many successes and achievements of yesterday while proclaiming the beginning of a new beginning.”
The brief speech alarmed some observers, who took to Twitter to denounce the aggressive rhetoric.
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