The State of Black America on the Heels of the Election of Barack Obama as the First African American President of the United States

Article excerpt

"Shattering a racial barrier, Senator from Illinois is voted president"

(USA Today, November 5, 2008).

"Obama Sweeps to Historic Victory': Nation Elects Its First African-American President Amid Record Turnout"

(The Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2008).

"Obama Wins/Racial Barrier Falls in Decisive Victory"

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"About New York: Across the Generations, No Longer Just a Dream."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"Celebration and Sense of History at Chicago Party."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"'An unprecedented Event Peaks on Waves of Emotions."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"A Historic American Election Rivets Eyes far and Wide."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"Vaulting the Racial Divide, Obama Persuaded Americans to Follow."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"The Moment: A Time to Reap for Foot Soldiers of Civil Rights."

(The New York Times, November 5, 2008).

"Obama elected first black president."

(Las Vegas Sun, November 5, 2008).

"Obama shatters barrier to become first Black president."

(The Arizona Republic, November 5, 2008).

"Obama Wins: First African American in Highest US Office."

(Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2008).

"Race, post race."

(Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2008).

"Obama Sweeps to Victory in History-Making Campaign."

(Washington Post, November 5, 2008).

"Obama makes history."

(Washington Post, November 5, 2008).

"Historic victory."

(The Boston Globe, November 5, 2008).

"The New America."

(Le Figaro, France, November 5, 2008).

"In Selma, tears of joy."

(The Star, Toronto Canada, November 5, 2008).

"Analysis: Barack Obama k victory is head-spinning stuff."

(The Times, Britain, November 5, 2008).

These are among the many national and international headlines and sub-headlines declaring the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States. Here is how lead articles from two major newspapers (One national and the other international) characterized the event:

"Beyond the policies, Obama's election will stand forever amid the great milestones of America's racial history, the end of a torturous progression from emancipation to the civil rights movement to the election of the first black president." (Helman & Kranish, The Boston Globe, November 5, 2008, p. A1).

"The country regarded loftily by many Europeans as hopelessly racist and irredeemably right wing has voted to be ruled by a black man, at the head of a party committed to economic redistribution and a foreign policy rooted in peaceful diplomatic engagement."

(Baker, The Times, Britain, November 5, 2008

The Wall Street Journal goes further to suggest that Barack Obama's presidential victory marked a fundamental change in the contours of U.S. political landscape (Jordan, 2008; Seib, 2008). For example, according to Jordan (2008), turnout for Hispanics was a record: about 10 million voted in the 2008 presidential election, up from 7.8 million in 2004. Jordan (2008) further notes that Hispanic-Americans voted by about 66% to 32% for Barack Obama over John McCain. In contrast, more than 50% of Hispanic-Americans voted for Senator John Kerry in 2004 and 40% voted for President Bush (Jordan, 2008).

As can be seen in Table 1, more than 60 percent of Obama's voters were white and more than 20 percent were Black. Moreover, Obama also received a large percentage of younger votes. As Table 1 shows, Obama had a 10 percentage point lead over his Republican opponent Senator John McCain: 52% versus 42%. …


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