History will record this as the night the souls of black folk, living and dead, wept – and laughed, screamed and danced – releasing 400 years of pent up emotion.
They were the souls of those whose bodies littered the bottom of the Atlantic, whose families were torn asunder, whose names were erased.
They were those who knew the terror of being set upon by men with clubs, of being trapped in a torched house, of dangling at the end of a rough rope.
They were the souls of those who knew the humiliation of another person’s spit trailing down their faces, of being treated like children well into their twilight years, of being derided and despised for the beauty God gave them.
They were also the tears of those for whom “Yes We Can, ” Obama’s campaign slogan, took on a broader, more profound meaning.
“Yes We Can” escape the prison of lowered expectations and the cycles of poor choices. “Yes We Can” rise above history and beyond hatred. “Yes We Can” ascend to Martin Luther King’s mountain top and see the promised land where dreams are fulfilled, where the best man wins and where justice prevails.
During this election African-Americans, their hearts weary from disappointment, dared to hope and dream again. Tonight their dream has been realized.
Whether or not you agree with Barack Obama’s politics, there is no denying that his election represents a seminal moment in the African-American narrative and a giant leap forward on the road to America’s racial reconciliation.
In fact everyone, regardless of race, should feel free to shed a tear and be proud of how far our country has come.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last night I witnessed something I could not have imagined would happen in my lifetime: the election of an African American, Barack Obama, to the highest office in the land, the presidency of the United States of America. But as joyous as this occasion is, I could not help thinking of those who came before, both the famous and the not so famous, who made the sacrifices that set into motion the conditions culminating in this historic moment. As I try to sort it all out, I came across the words of Charles M. Blow of the New York Times. He writes: