News

    African Americans React With Tears, Pride to Obama Victory

    Multimedia

    Millions of Americans of all races, colors and ethnic groups are celebrating Barack Obama's presidential victory. But for many African Americans who grew up experiencing discrimination and prejudice, the election of the first African American president is an overwhelming event they never thought they would see in their lifetimes. VOA Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Washington.

    After hearing the news of Mr. Obama's victory, many African Americans across the country danced in the streets, bringing traffic to a standstill in some places. In Washington, D.C., hundreds of residents gathered outside the White House, banging on drums and chanting "Bush is gone!" There were similar scenes in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York City.

    President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech to a jubilant crowd of more than a 100,000 people in his home town of Chicago, acknowledging the history-making nature of the moment.

    "It has been a long time coming," he said. "But tonight, because of what we did on this day, change is coming to America."

    Speaking to MSNBC, civil rights hero and Representative John Lewis of Georgia summed up the gamut of emotions many African Americans are feeling.

    "When I heard last evening that Pennsylvania had gone for Barack Obama, I think I had an out-of-body experience," he said. "I jumped, and I shouted for joy. And my feet left the floor, and I just kept jumping. Something lifted me up, and I shed some tears. And I tell you, I have cried so much during the past few hours, I don't think I have any tears left."

    Lewis said he could hardly believe the news, which came 40 years after he was beaten and left bloody on a bridge in Selma, Alabama as he took part in a protest march held to push for Black voting rights in the United States. Lewis was also a close associate of the slain civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King.

    Many older African Americans grew up under repressive laws that were in force from 1876 to 1965 in parts of the United States, especially the south. Those laws mandated segregation of the races in public schools, public places and public transportation. The civil rights legislation in the 1960s ended legalized racial segregation and gave African Americans voting rights.

    Internationally acclaimed African American poet and author Maya Angelou spoke to CBS News on the morning after the election.

    " I am so proud," she said. "I am filled, I can hardly talk without weeping. I am so filled with pride for my country. What do you say? We are growing up!"

    Washington Post columnist and MSNBC News analyst Eugene Robinson is African American, and he told viewers Tuesday night he would never forget this defining moment.

    "I think the world will never forget this moment because it is a moment of demarcation," he said. "There was a before and an after. We don't know what happens in the after, but we know it is different than the before. And it feels different to me to be an American tonight."

    VOA correspondents fanned out across the country to record voters' impressions. Celebrating at a street party in Miami's "Little Haiti" neighborhood, restaurant owner and Haitian American Lucy Coma said her vote was not about race.

    "We don't vote for Obama because he is black, we vote because we want change," she said. "That's everybody, white Hispanic, Asian. All the things he promised, that is why we vote for him. We are so happy."

    Haitian American Julian Louis was also at the street party.

    "This is a big deal for African Americans," he said. "It is about time we had some changes in life. Everybody is happy, everybody is proud. They are happy to make it, the first black president out there.

    Thomas, 36, is a graphic designer who talked to VOA outside a polling place in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

    "Now when your grandmother tells you that, baby you can be the president of the United States, hey, you don't have to look at her doubtful now," he said. "You can say it is the truth."

    Barack Obama will move into the White House with his wife Michelle and their two young daughters Malia and Sasha. The first African American "First Family" will likely be a powerful and hopeful symbol for many. 

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.