Thursday, June 05, 2008

Black lawmakers emotional about Obama's success

This is interesting from the Politico via Newsalert:
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was about to enter his Capitol Hill office on Wednesday afternoon when a tourist from Miami rushed up to him.

“I was watching Barack last night, and I just kept thinking, ‘What would Dr. King think?’” the tourist, Larry Ellery, told Lewis expectantly.

As the only living person to have spoken at the lectern the day the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, Lewis was perhaps the best person to answer a question that occupied the minds of many Americans.

Lewis touched Ellery’s arm and paused.

“He would have been very, very pleased,” Lewis said. “He probably would have said, ‘Hallelujah!’”

On Capitol Hill, as across the country Wednesday, African-Americans reflected on Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s historic rise as the first black presidential nominee to lead a major political party. They noted that only a few decades ago, African-Americans were fighting across large swaths of the South for basic human rights, hardly pondering the possibility that one of them might soon lead the country.

Many black lawmakers said they were elated at Obama’s victory.

Many said they never thought such a day would come.

Many cried.

“If someone had told me this would be happening now, I would have told them they were crazy, out of their mind, they didn’t know what they were talking about,” said Lewis, who was president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee when he stood with King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. “I just wish the others were around to see this day. ... To the people who were beaten, put in jail, were asked questions they could never answer to register to vote, it’s amazing.”
The next question no doubt should be, what's next? What should a black president do? We got a black man who is a major party nominee then what? We shall see won't we?

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