Sam Cooke – A Change Is Gonna Come
Parliament – Chocolate City
James Brown – Funky President

Forget about the financial crisis. Forget McCain-Palin, forget the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, forget health care. Forget about the challenges of the next four years, and all our fears and worries about how Barack Obama will do as president.

For this moment, let’s savor the extraordinary revolution in American culture that took place today.

Barack Hussein Obama is not the descendant of slaves. His father comes from East Africa, not West Africa, and his mother is a white Kansan. But by the strange logic of American race relations, Obama grew up black in America. He was born four years before the Voting Rights Act was passed. He was seven years old when Martin Luther King was assassinated. He grew up with the decline of America’s inner cities in the 1970s, came of age at the time of the crack epidemic, was a young man when cities across the country exploded in rage at the Rodney King verdict.

Obama is slightly younger than Chuck D.

Barack Obama may be the harbinger of a new, post-racial America, but he grew up in the old, still-racial America. His election is a stunning breakthrough for our nation, one that millions of Americans have worked, fought and prayed for through the generations.

I wish Martin Luther King were alive to see it. And James Brown. And W.E.B. DuBois, and Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. And Obama’s grandmother. And Walt Whitman. And Rosa Parks.

In March of next year, the Lincoln Memorial will be rededicated on its centennial. And our president, a son of Africa, will be there.

This is amazing.


America is different now.