A Black Man Will Be President

Posted by Katherine | November 5, 2008 – 2:23 pm
Obama speaking in Chicago
Obama speaking last night [super.heavy / Flickr]

Cheryl started travelling the world in utero and has visited 22 countries. She’s now based in Chicago and crammed herself into Grant Park last night with about 100,000 other cell-phone-checking supporters to hear Obama speak. This was her part of the history-making night:

Every time a state win was announced, cheers would erupt from the crowds. People who had started the evening total strangers stood together, hands clutched or arms linked as they anxiously watched the screens, side by side - all colors, all religions, all ages, all united in one view, in a momentous moment in our country’s history.

Then came the announcement - Virginia, I think it was, had gone to Barack Obama, and it was enough to give him the victory. Everybody was yelling, crying, hugging, waving flags; the park erupted in sound and flashbulbs and cheers.

I turned around and found myself facing a short, wiry old black man who was not even as tall as I am. His face was screwed up in emotion, tears spilling down his cheeks. The raw and naked emotion on his face said it all: this was a man who had seen much in his life, and now in the twilight of his years, we had finally elected a black President. He looked at once dazed and hopeful, standing there in his Bulls jacket and Sox cap and Obama shirt, hands moving unconsciously at his sides, his eyes continuing to water.

“A black man… our President. A black man… I never thought I would live to see this day.” You could hear both the disbelief and the wonderment in his voice. His gaze fixed on mine, his dark eyes looking into my blue ones, and he held his arms open. “Would you please give me a hug?” he asked.

“Of course,” I replied, smiling, and gave him a hug.

He hugged me fiercely, not letting go, and I could feel his body shaking as he sobbed against my shoulder. When he finally stepped back, he looked intently at me, tears still running from his eyes. “You know what this means, don’t you? Anything is possible. Anything. Anybody can be anything they want.”

“Yes, they can. This is a great day for our country.”

“A great day.” He looked away from me for a moment, towards the nearest projection screens and the jubilant crowds. “A great day. Yes, they can.”

The volume and emotion of online testimonies from last night is overwhelming.


  1. 2 Responses to “A Black Man Will Be President”

  2. what a great read!

    By earth heart on Nov 5, 2008

  3. Goosebumps again as I read this! Very touching!
    Wish I could have been at Grant Park!

    By Barb on Nov 6, 2008

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