President Obama on Friday eulogized Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the state senator and pastor who was shot and killed last week in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston along with eight other black parishioners. The president delivered a powerful speech that addressed race and racial bias repeatedly during winding remarks that touched on everything from voting rights to gun violence to the criminal justice system. The common thread, though, was grace. After quoting from “Amazing Grace” earlier in the speech, Obama finally broke into song at the end. The congregation quickly joined in.
He then finished with a nod to each of the nine victims. “Clementa Pinckney has found that grace,” the president said. “Cynthia Hurd has found that grace. Susie Jackson has found that grace. Ethel Lance has found that grace. DePayne Middleton-Doctor has found that grace. Tywanza Sanders has found that grace. Daniel Simmons has found that grace. Sharonda Singleton has found that grace. Myra Thompson has found that grace.” And finally: “May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America.”
This post has been updated with additional information.