Ethiopian-born Meklit Hadaro (known as “Meklit”), a soulful singer and songwriter based in San Francisco, sings about what President Obama’s voice, heart, and spirit meant to a shocked nation when he sang “Amazing Grace” at the funeral of the Reverend Clementa Pinckney on June 17, 2015. Rev. Pinckney was murdered along with 9 people during a Wednesday night Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina by a young white supremacist man who wanted to start a race war.

6000 worshipers gathered in the church the day of the funeral and a worldwide audience watched live on television. An estimated 5000 people were turned away from the church for lack of seating space.  

Here is the refrain from Meklit’s song:

We argued where to lay the blame
On one man’s hate or our nation’s shame
Some sickness of the mind or soul
And how those wounds might be made whole
But no words could say what must be said
For all the living and the dead
So on that day and in that place
The President sang Amazing Grace
My President sang Amazing Grace

You can watch and listen to her song here:

Here is President Obama singing “Amazing Grace” on that sad day:

For the full story as told in 2015 in the NY Times, go to:

Gratitude to Thomas Friedman’s whose op-ed “When My President Sang ‘Amazing Grace’ – We’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a truth-teller and a healer in the White House” appeared in today’s NY Times, October 28, 2020.