News / USA

Obama's Presidency a Living Example for African Americans

A majority of African-Americans also say that Mr. Obama's presidential win has improved race relations in America.

Multimedia

Audio
  • http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/dalet/babb0obama-african-americans-voa563264-15jan10-sn.mp3

Carla Babb

A new survey shows that African-Americans' assessment of progress and race relations in America has improved more dramatically than at any time in the last quarter century.  And, President Barack Obama's move into the White House appears to be the spark that ignited this rise in optimism and hope. 

African-American Nicole Cunningham says growing up in the southern state of Georgia was difficult.

It was a time of racial tension.  The white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan, often terrorized black families,  sometimes beating and murdering them. But, Nicole says seeing the inauguration of the first black president has shown her that times have changed.
 
"When I was in the fifth grade having the KKK [Ku Klux Klan] march on my school, and wanting to have all the black kids brought outside, I was thinking about all of that when I was looking up there. So we have definitely come a long way," she said.
 
Nicole and her husband, Vurtis, took their two young children to the inauguration to witness the historic event. Their son Tarik says he is proud of Mr. Obama's victory.

"And I know some people they didn't like the idea of having an African-American president and he persevered through all that," he said.
 
"It was a very emotional day," said Nicole. "You know, I can look up there and see someone who looks like me."

A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that nearly twice as many African-Americans now than in 2007 say the situation of black people in the United States has improved over the last five years. This jump in optimism is the highest seen since 1984.  A majority of African-Americans also say that Mr. Obama's presidential win has improved race relations in America. 

But the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Chairman Julian Bond says it was one moment in a long chain of events.

"It's arguable you could say, that we should have been able to do this years and years and years ago," said Bond. "But perhaps it had to wait for the moment, for the man, for the moment-it did have to wait for the man and the moment and had to wait for an awful lot of work that had to be done leading up to this moment."

The inauguration of Barack Obama at the steps of the Capitol was more than just a beginning to a new presidency.  For the Cunninghams and many African-Americans, Mr. Obama was a living example of the endless possibilities.

 "So to grow up, and to tell my kids that they can be anything they want to be in the world, there's no barriers anymore, you can go as far as you want to go, and to have this culminate before us, and we're there to see it,  just unreal, surreal," said Vurtis.
 
For the next generation of Cunninghams, like their 11-year-old daughter Gwen, the realization of the first black president is already taking effect.
 
"It lets me know that I can run for president, because I am an African American and, and I can become the first female president," said Gwen.
 
The Cunninghams' are still smiling over President Obama's successful jump over the race barrier.  But they say the economy and the ongoing wars are tough problems he needs to tackle.
 
"There's still life going on, but we are still very excited," said  And we wish the president well," said Cunninghams. "He definitely has his work cut out for him.  He definitely does."

Mr. Obama is trying a more hands-on approach to help address these problems and will present his plans later this month in his State of the Union address.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid