To those of us born at a time when a black skinned person was unable to drink from the same fountain of water or attend the same law schools as those with white skins, the nomination of Barack Obama is the change once dreamed of that has come to fruition. I entered the US Army in 1951 and wound up at the Headquarters of the US 7th Army. One day a friend and I were assigned the task of developing an Integration plan for the 7th Army and spent the coming months trying to ensure that all who serve our nation have equal opportunities to succeed. The moment seems so long ago and far away with the nomination of Obama to run for president.
After leaving the armed forces, I was frortunate to be in the class of Dr. Kenneth Clark who wrote the psychological brief for Brown v. Board of Education. We happened to have a class with Dr. Clark the day of the decision and when he entered the room we stood and applauded and most cried with joy. That day in May, 1954, Dr. Clark told us the battle to achieve the end of segregation would be long and most probably wound take at least fifty years. The dream of Dr. Clark and Brown vs. Board of Education has now been fulfilled. We are a new nation, one that has turned our faces to the future rather than to the past.
There are those who see only racism and hatred in America. They see the glass of freedom as diminished, but most Americans know the glass will soon be overflowing with the waters of equality. As Dr. Clark said fifty years ago, the fight to end racism is tough, it will not happen in a day or in one adminstration. Barack Obama’s election as president marks a beginning, not an end to the struggle to make this a society in which prejudice has no place.