During the election season, Bill de Blasio was often painted by conservatives as a leftist radical. But at his inauguration today, it was not Mr. de Blasio who dropped the most aggressive lines, but the first two speakers at the event.
In particular, Rev. Fred Lucas Jr., who was among several chaplains representing the city’s uniformed workers, surprised many observers by comparing the five boroughs to a “plantation.”
“Let the plantation called New York City be the city of God, a city set upon the hill, a light shining in darkness,” he declared. “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.”
Mr. Lucas had several additional references to slavery in his short address, citing shackles, bondage, auction blocks, the Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War and Reconstruction Era.
“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,” he invoked. “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.”
Members of the press covering the de Blasio inaugural were in disbelief on the Twitter that someone at the inaugural ceremony compared NYC to a plantation .
Of course, if they had been members of the Kimani Gray or Ramarley Graham families instead of smug white people working for elite media outlets, the "plantation" reference might not have upset their delicate ears so much.