Yes We Can: The Election of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States

The election of Barack Obama is a watershed event in African American and American history. President Obama was the beneficiary 1960’s Movement which opened up the American society to people of color and women and a brilliant organizational strategy which tapped into the aspirations of the American people. In the truest sense, President Barack Obama stood on the shoulders of countless men, women, and children-known and unknown- who worked and struggled to free America from its self-limiting possibilities of race, class and gender.

Moreover, Obama’s campaign strategy, starting with his unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton and the Clinton machine in the Democratic primary, and extending into the general presidential campaign, will be study as a masterpiece and a new model for electoral politic in the United States. The heart and soul of his campaign was the army of community organizers which he builds all across America. This along with his brilliant use of the new technology- internet, YouTube, and texting, were the decisive factors in his march to victory. To be sure, Obama from the start wanted to forge a new a new politics in America-one which would be consistent with his philosophy of “ground up rather than top down.”  He insisted on running a grassroots campaign. He had seen it work as a community organizer, and he wanted to take the model and go national.

The President Obama Elect’s victory will inspire generations to come. Yet, his victory for African American represents more than a historical milestone; it is affirmation of black people’s humanity, will to achieve and the dawning of the possibility of a “New America”, Martin Luther King’s America- character and morality trumps racial anxieties and bigotry.  In the words of Barack Obama:

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. It’s the answer that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America. Reference: Evan Thomas, A Long Time Coming.

Return to 10 Most significant events in African American History

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