VIDEO: Watch Obama’s Stunning Eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston

This afternoon President Obama delivered a eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the South Carolina state senator and pastor who was murdered along with nine other people at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston last week. In the stunning speech, the president touched on gun control, the poverty cycle, the pandemic of police offers committing acts of racist violence, America’s embedded legacy of racism, the failures of the United States’ criminal justice system, the terror of the Confederate flag, and so much more. He ended his eulogy by singing “Amazing Grace” and naming the victims of the attack. Susie Jackson. Rev Daniel Simmons. Ethel Lance. Myra Thompson. Cynthia Hurd. Rev Depayne Middleton-Doctor. Rev Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Tywanza Sanders.

Watch the full eulogy below:

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. The marriage ruling today has been amazing and wonderful and feelings-producing, but this is definitely the thing that made me cry today.

  2. this gave me A LOT of feelings. as soon as i’m ready to call obama names he does stuff like this

  3. wooooooooooooooow I haven’t felt this glad for youtube in a long time. Hatred to Hope – that’s leadership amen.

  4. Rachel Maddow set aside a whole 30 minutes to rebroadcast the speech! I’m glad she did, and that she told me to watch the whole thing. It’s such an amazing, and needed, statement from the president

    • Most of my friends have linked to the clip of him singing Amazing Grace. Yes, that was the capper of the eulogy, but I’ve told them to take the time to watch the whole thing. Amazing. And Grace.

  5. When he started singing Amazing Grace and everyone joined in I teared up. I heard he alone wrote the speech. I wish all the families of the deceased my love and prayers and hope that they, and the US as a whole, finds justice and that grace.

  6. I about wore out my screen on the last minute of that speech:

    “… how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now, I see.

    Clementa Pinckney found that grace…

    … Cynthia Hurd found that grace…

    … Susie Jackson found that grace…

    … Ethel Lance found that grace…

    … DePayne Middleton Doctor found that grace…

    … Tywanza Sanders found that grace…

    … Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace…

    … Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace…

    … Myra Thompson found that grace…

    … through the example of their lives. They’ve now passed it onto us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift as long as our lives endure.

    May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His Grace on the United States of America.”

    I was totally stunned and felt a deep reckoning from the reactions of the crowd, and from my heart. Bless you, Reverend President, whomever your grace comes from, and may those United States for which you care so deeply feel that same grace because it is PURIFYING! I sat down and watched the entire sermon/speech, and felt that there could not have been a better moment for these words and feelings. Amen. I am going to go rewatch now.

  7. That was amazing. He’s done something incredible here. Hope and change, you know, you can feel it happening in this moment, you can feel those great wheels turning.

  8. That was incredible. I’m so glad I came back to watch his entire speech, because wow. I’ve never seen him so passionate and direct about systemic racism. And as someone who isn’t religious – I understand. Amazing grace, indeed.

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