Magical and intense–that is how I describe the night Barak Obama became our nation’s first African-American President I wept as he crossed the line from being a dream of our ancestors into a reality of our nation’s great, but sullied, history. I was stunned that a Black President was elected in my lifetime, but that night my thoughts were of my father and grandparents who did not live to see the day when “we” would be in the White House.

I vividly remembered watching the Eyes On The Prize documentary series as a child with my father. His narrative gave deeper meaning to a history just a generation away. Through him, I understood the grave injustice against Emmett Till. Whereas the world remembered Governor Wallace for his fight against desegregation, my father spoke of the tears his mother and grandmother shed over Wallace’s hate-filled stance at the University of Alabama.

My feelings during this past week’s inauguration were perhaps even more intense. As the television cameras panned the MLK monument, I was awed by the fact that President Obama was a fulfillment of Dr. King’s renowned dream. The possibility of his election and re-election were the reward King fought and ultimately died for in times that seemed hopeless.
On his journey to making history, President Obama certainly found strength and hope in Dr. King, as well as personal role models such as his grandparents. A powerhouse in her own right, First Lady Michelle Obama, often credits her noteworthy success and achievements to the work ethic and determination instilled by her parents and mentors. As we strive to impact the world and our community, it is essential that we identify, study and follow the examples of those who have gone before us.

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