Race was very much on the minds of the mostly African American group that piled onto a West Side bus in Chicago Saturday morning to campaign for Sen. Barack Obama in Indianapolis three days before the state's Democratic presidential primary. So, too, was history.There's certainly love for Illinois' junior senator who suddenly finds himself in a serious race for President. Indeed this is probably the most serious race he's been since he's ever started in politics in the Illinois State Senate.
"When I was growing up, they said coffee would make you black, so I didn't drink it, I drank tea," Chicago Congressman Danny Davis, who organized the trip, told the busload of volunteers when they stopped for a coffee break. "That was before James Brown said, 'I'm black and I'm proud.'"
For many of the volunteers in the diverse group, which spanned the age and socioeconomic spectrums, it was their first time getting involved in politics -- something they were drawn to in hopes of electing the country's first black president.
"We want someone sympathetic to us on issues like police brutality," explained Dalton Brown, 34, founder of a non-profit organization called Felony Free Society. "Cops are always trying to plant dope on us, things like the Sean Bell shooting are happening all the time. Like Michelle (Obama) always says, we just want to live our American dream."
Such messages resonated with African Americans the campaigners encountered in Indianapolis, who almost unanimously supported Obama. Ada Lanier, 77, was approached by the Chicago volunteers at a McDonald's. She just happened to be carrying a spiral notebook she had turned into a scrapbook of Campaign Trail Wardrobe selections for Michelle Obama. She gave the notebook to Chicago campaigners to deliver to the senator's wife, along with the lyrics of her version of a Bobby Womack song dedicated to Obama, admonishing him to stay strong "when your foes far and wide are ripping at your hide."
Primary Calendar: Democratic Nominating Contests - NY Times