On account of jury duty all last week, I was not able to be on campus at Lincoln the day after the election. I was looking forward to hearing about my studentsâ experiences of standing in line for hours upon hours, finally voting for the first time, celebrating wildly by climbing all over the Frederick Douglass statueÂ on campus, and being part of this historic election. When I finally returned to campus, I asked my students to put history in their own words and recount what they were feeling and thinking that day so I could share them in this space. Their narratives speak of joy, empowerment, fear, and hope for change:
The Atlantic bottom trembled with my ancestors chains when change came to America. I think Martin Luther King Jr. shed a tear with Jesse Jackson. Dorothy Dandridge sang with Billie Holiday “Freedom is coming tomorrow,” and Louis played his horn. I cried and celebrated. We madeÂ the change,Â and my grandmother’s life ran through me. November 4, 2008 was a proud moment for some, and others looked at it like a tragedy, but the majority of people wanted something different in the United States. This proud moment was not only an accomplishment for African-Americans,Â it was a slap in the face to white domination.Â I am proud to say that the White House was made multicultural on so many levels, and I will never forget the day when I looked at someone that resembled me in the white house. âAmelia Sherwood
Before the announcement was made that Obama won the presidential election, a wave of emotion was causing me to think and reflect on how long I was waiting in line to vote. The six hour wait and the harsh cold circled my mind like a slow carnival ride. I could not stop asking myself the question, âdid my vote really count?â I glanced at my phone and started to watch television to see which candidate was leading. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath; just as I opened my eyes a huge roar emerged from outside. I swiftly turned to the television and noticed Barack Obama won. At that moment my heart began to beat faster and my body felt weak. The feeling of empowerment, self-worth, and confidence built within me to the point it released a single teardrop. The teardrop was bigger than Obama himself. It was about to change. âCarlton Wilhoit
When I found out that âmy president is black,â I became overwhelmed with joy, but at the same time a little scared. There had been a lot of threats that Iâve heard about towards Barack Obama and I was also scared for his family. Even to this day, people are still racist and prejudiced and are very disappointed about the election. I was happy as well when I heard the news because I am an African American/Antiguan and I know my ancestors struggle and how hard they worked for âusâ to be able to vote and now that we can, we have a black president! I wish they were here to witness this because it shows that âweâ can do ANYTHING!! Some people stood in line for hours at a time; that showed how much the election meant to them. Itâs time for a change, and I hope Obama is the one to make it happen. âSade Dorsett
When I watched the election, it felt bigger than any other championship sport event Iâve ever watched. The excitement and hope I felt was amazing when watching this presidential race. At the time, I couldnât even fathom the thought of a black president in the oval office. It just seemed unreal for a moment, then bang!!! Around 11:00PM, it was announced that president Barack Obama is the new president of the United States of America. I immediately flashed to all the problems blacks had making it in this world and how we finally have a man of color in the oval office. As a black man in America, I felt a sense of pride and spirit uplifting when we made history that amazing day. âJulian Rogers Lindsay
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