First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the African Methodist Episcopal Church Conference in Nashville yesterday. This is the 49th annual conference. Her session included historical references and a bit of health commentary.
Before she addressed the crowd, prominent AME leaders expressed their pleasure at her decision to speak before their church family.
“The African Methodist Episcopal Church, as the oldest, historically black denomination in the western hemisphere, is itself a history maker. And how honored we are to receive another history maker, Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama’s service to the people of this nation will find history recording her as one of the greatest first ladies of the United States of America,” Senior Bishop John Bryant said.
Bishop Samuel Green, President of the Bishop’s Council, introduced the first lady. He said that the AME Church will continue to lift the Obama family in prayer and pray for successful leadership.
The first lady mentioned AME Church founder Richard Allen. She said she is where she is today because of heroes in the AME church. She added that the AME church, along with African American churches across the country, have legacies and that people must do their best to leave a legacy.
Mrs. Obama’s Nashville visit highlighted the Obama administration connection with different groups. It was also a nod at the Black church, one of the most powerful institutions for Blacks in the nation.
The conference’s return to Nashville is historic. The last time the conference was hosted there was 140 years ago in 1872.
The first lady also focused on health. Mrs. Obama developed the Let’s Move campaign to end childhood obesity. Her campaign could undoubtedly benefit the state of Tennessee.
Tennessee’s childhood obesity rate is almost 21 percent. For children 10-17, the number is nearly 37 percent. Nashville’s mayor, Karl Dean, said the region’s current childhood obesity rate is unacceptable.
While people were elated, the first lady’s appearance at the conference is not an Obama first. In 2008 then-senator Barack Obama addressed the AME conference.
The AME conference began Wednesday and will continue through July 4. It is expected to bring tens of thousands of attendees from around the world.