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The Long March

Had you told me, when I was growing up, that someday the First Family would look like this—
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Source: Reuters via Daylife.
—I’d have said you were dreaming.
When I was growing up, Jim Crow’s death was a rumor.
When I was growing up, blacks in the South went to “separate but equal” schools. White people rioted when the public schools were desegregated.
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Little Rock, 1957. Source: Civil Rights Movement Veterans
Civil rights demonstrators were greeted with dogs and high-pressure firehoses.
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Birmingham, 1963. Source: Civil Rights Movement Veterans
Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus.
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Montgomery, Alabama, 1955. Source: World’s Famous Photos
Many people—some but not all of them “conservatives” in the spirit of the National Review fifty years ago—would just as soon that this history was relegated to museums. Obama’s election shows that now America is color-blind; the struggle is over. Maybe it is. And maybe the Southern Strategy will no longer work. But Obama’s accomplishment cannot be understood except by remembering the past—a past within living memory, a past in which merely voting, let alone holding office, was a right denied to millions on the basis of race. Obama’s victory is a victory for all those who kept their “eyes on the prize”.

LinkNovember 6, 2008 in Current Affairs · Society