Reverend Jeremiah White’s sermon that inspired the title of Barack Obama’s best-selling memoir and 2004 Democratic National Convention speech suggests the world is full of pain and despair.
Wright’s sermon, “Audacity to Hope” is based on the story of a troubled woman named Hannah who sits atop of a hateful world in tattered clothes and has a bruised heart. Wright says Hannah lives in a quiet Hell, like his many followers who suffer privately, but portrays an image of “sitting on top of the world.”
But because Hannah had the “audacity to hope” she is able to look towards heaven for relief. Obama slightly modified the title of Wright’s sermon for his book “Audacity of Hope” which became a New York Times bestseller.
Click here for an audio version of the speech. The full text is listed below.
Obama has called Wright his “spiritual adviser.” Wright also married Obama and his wife, Michelle, and baptized his two daughters, but more details about Obama’s relationship with Wright are now sought after controversial sermons surfaced in which Wright invokes racial slurs and condemns America.
Like those sermons, there are a few racial references in Wright’s “Audacity to Hope.” Wright mentions people in Hannah’s world are “more concerned about the color of skin than it is about the content of character” and that her world is a “a world more finicky about the texture of hair or what is on the outside of your head than it is about the quality of education or what is on the inside of one’s head.”
This particular address, however, is not nearly as inflammatory as others that have been widely played by media outlets.
Here is the transcribed version of Wright’s “Audacity to Hope”
"Several years ago while down in Richmond, Virginia, the Lord blessed my life by allowing me to be in that city during the same week that the annual convocation was being held at the Virginia Union University School of Theology, and it was at that convocation that I was privileged to and blessed to hear the preaching and teaching of Reverend Frederick G. Sampson of Detroit, Michigan and in one of this lectures Dr. Sampson talked about a picture that I had had to study in humanities courses at that same school, Virginia Union back in the late 50’s.