A dream echoes with Obama win

INDEPENDENCE MALL - November 5, 2008 There was a joyous celebration at the Bright Hope Baptist Church Wednesday night marking the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president. 77-year-old Augusta Clark, a former longtime councilwoman, never thought she'd see this day:"

"I told some people who came to my house last night, I want to take your picture today, because you'll never be the person you are. Today we're brand new," Clark said.

It was a defining moment in African American history since the first slaves landed on these shores 389 years ago. It was akin to the day in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which abolished slavery. but a century later, they would still be treated as second class citizens.

On August 28, 1963 the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King would proclaim to the world:

"I have a dream, my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, I have a dream today," Dr. King said.

45 years later:

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," President-elect Obama said.

Anthony Wright, whose grandfather was a slave, waited 80 years to see this day.

"My son came and he found me crying, he said "What's wrong?" I said 'nothing is wrong, I'm happy," Wright said.

So it was that there was an eruption of spontaneous celebration on the streets of Philadelphia last night when Obama was declared president elect. For many, the chains of the past seem to have been finally broken:

"And now my little grand children who are 5 and 18 months old, I can really look them in the face and say to them, you can do it, you can be whatever you want to be and there really is no glass ceiling anymore, Barack broke it," Barbara Grant of Center City said.

The election of Barack Obama is seen as the grand achievement of a great collective dream. A day that many will remember for the rest of their lives.

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