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Obama Nomination Acceptance to Make History

The climax of this week's Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, will come Thursday when Senator Barack Obama of Illinois formally accepts his party's presidential nomination. Senator Obama will make history as the first African-American nominee of a major U.S. political party, and it just so happens that his speech will come on the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech on racial equality, given in Washington in 1963. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Denver.

Barack Obama's moment in the convention spotlight comes Thursday, when he will give his nomination acceptance speech before a crowd of 75,000 people at a football stadium here in Denver, and before millions of others watching in the United States and around the world.

Pennsylvania delegate Ellen Connelly expects it will be the highlight of the week.

"It's like totally exciting. I am from Pennsylvania and we are so psyched [excited] to be able to run this campaign. We are very excited," she said.

Many delegates, especially African-Americans, are aware that Obama's speech will come on the 45th anniversary of another famous speech that addressed the state of race relations in the United States.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal," King said in his 1963 address.

Martin Luther King's address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington offered the hope of a colorblind society and was a major turning point in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

Carmen Boudier, a delegate from Connecticut, says Barack Obama's political rise shows that Dr. King's dream is starting to become a reality.

"Wherever he is, Doctor Martin Luther King is looking down on us and saying, the speech I made and with all the struggle in America, it has finally come to where there are some changes," she said.

Even some delegates who came to the convention to support Senator Hillary Clinton are getting caught up in the history of Barack Obama's moment.

"I thought Hillary had all the credentials to be the lady to lead America. And it just didn't happen," said Domingo Lopes, a delegate from Florida.

Lopes has seen more than his share of race discrimination in his 76 years, but the emotions take over when he thinks about the possibility of Senator Obama winning the White House in November.

"I say it is about time. It is finally going to happen where the average African-American is seeing that the dream is becoming a reality," he said.

Did he ever think this day would come?

"Truthfully, no. Not in my lifetime. Not in my lifetime," he said. "It is going to be one of the greatest feelings I will ever have in my lifetime."

Domingo Lopes says he has a little trouble getting around these days, given his age. But Lopes says nothing could keep him from attending Senator Obama's speech on Thursday.