It was just two years back when this site picked up Obama, rather late in the scheme of things. However the view that he would actually be at the door of the White House just two years on was hardly credible. At that time I was teaching some young people who were out of school for one reason or another, predictably a number of them were black so I introduced them to Obama While they were interested they clearly felt the idea that he would one day be President of the USA was a myth.
I spent the night of the announcement of the presidential election results at the Afro Caribbean Millennium Centre in Birmingham. We had a good celebration including cow foot soup, curried goat and Jamaican rum. The last time I had joined them was as Nelson Mandela walked free. The sense was that this was indeed history. That was clearly the mood across the US but the whole world was watching and joined in. To me, while it was clear that this had a particular significance to black people, there are many who are not who are able to share that and demonstrate the fact that they too are genuinely overjoyed and relieved that there appears to be forward movement.
The Civil Rights tradition was clearly invoked with Martin Luther King’s family witnessing what they felt to be a culmination of what he stood for. “Rosa sat so the King could stand so that Obama could run” was one view.
Clearly there are some who are not joining in the general mood of euphoria. A resentful group of white youths took it out on a young black Muslim on Staten Island. Fortunately he was able to save himself.