No matter what your political stance or who you voted for, you cannot help but marvel at and appreciate the history being made right now. For the first time in its history, the United States of America has elected an African American president. Let’s put it into historical perspective.
Almost 150 years ago, this nation was embroiled in one of the most bitter and costly wars it has experienced to this day. Among the issues being fought over was the issue of slavery – specifically slavery of the black people. The black people were not even considered people but property to be bought, sold, traded, and treated as livestock. The war ended and slaves were freed. The blacks may have been freed legally, but by no means were they freed socially. Racial discrimination and segregation was prevalent in many areas of the U.S. Blacks were not allowed to go to the same schools as whites, use the same restrooms, even drink from the same water fountains. In essence, they were still viewed as subhuman. And this was not even 50 years ago. Through the incredible workings of the Civil Rights Movement, all this began to change, albeit painfully slowly. Slowly but surely, African-Americans were granted equal rights, desegregation took over, and respect began to grow toward the black community. Robert Kennedy once said in 1962: “"[T]he Irish were not wanted here. Now an Irish Catholic is President of the United States. There is no question about it, in the next forty years a Negro can achieve the same position.” Although off by only 7 years, this has still rung true.
America is painted as the land of opportunity. The land where any one can grow up to be President. Not until now has this claim been solidified for the African-American community. Today, we have elected Barack Obama, an African-American, to the highest office in the land. To the African-American community, this is more than a simple election of one man over another. This is an echo of the cry for freedom heard throughout the last four centuries of American history. This is indeed cause for celebration in seeing just how far we’ve come even in the last 50 years.
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