Ransom Notes: Taking a different view of the historic Obama inauguration

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    The gathering was hushed. No one was worrying about seating arrangements because there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.

    The gathering was hushed. No one was worrying about seating arrangements because there wasn’t a bad seat in the house.

    Harold Washington slid in behind Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. He was running a little late because he had stopped at the library for some books. He tapped DuSable on the shoulder and flashed that smile, the one where his eyes disappeared.

    “This ought to be good,” Harold said. “Mayor is one thing, but president… man, that is something else.”

    DuSable nodded. “It gives me great pride. Who would have thought that this fertile patch of land would produce so much? ”

    On the other side of the gathering, Frederick Douglass was busy regaling Malcolm X on how he had predicted such an occurrence more than 100 years ago. “Though race will always be a problem for this nation, there will be triumph and setbacks, some of them on the same day.” Malcolm considered those words and said, “The struggle is certainly not over, but this is a turning point.”

    Martin Luther King dabbed a tear away. He had been uncharacteristically quiet for the past two months. No one pressed him about it because it was clear he was overcome. Thurgood Marshall stood up. He said hello to the interracial couple sitting up front, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham. He had just told Fannie Lou Hamer that he would have liked to be the one to give the oath of office to that young Obama fellow. She responded that who would have thought that the Black vote would have been strong enough to propel this Black man to victory… to the presidency.

    Malcolm ambled over and put his hands on Martin’s shoulders. King smiled at the approach of his friend. His eyes were red, but he managed to perk up.

    “This is what you talked about, Martin,” said Malcolm. “This is the proof of your dream that no one expected. But, this is the easy part, the election part. The hard part is realizing the rest of it, the spread of justice for all, the eradication of institutional racism, not just here, but all around the world. They have much work to do.”


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