Triangle reacts to Obama victory
At Triangle-area colleges and in cities across the country, the reaction to the election of Barack Obama was instant.Posted — Updated
In Raleigh, hundreds of people gathered in front of the State Capitol, celebrating and singing.
"When I first heard, I started crying. I started shouting. I was very, very happy," said student Ebony Blount. "I'm just so excited on the inside. My heart is just bursting. It's just open right about now."
Students from N.C. State, Shaw University and the University of Chapel Hill took to the streets just after midnight in a celebration that was mostly peaceful and short-lived.
The opposite reaction could be seen on N.C. State's campus Wednesday morning as campus workers cleaned racist graffiti off the Free Expression Tunnel. Overnight, someone had painted "Black House" and other messages believed to be derogatory toward the election of the first black president.
In Durham, a gathering of Democrats sought to heal the wounds of a divisive campaign.
"We’ve been divided by party affiliation. We’ve been divided by gender. We’ve been divided by race,” Rev. Melvin Whitley said at a Unity Breakfast sponsored by the Durham Voter Coalition.
"The dream of democracy is being able to use that diversity to move people forward," he added.
Pastor Rachel Green had high hopes for Durham.
"We as a people need to come together. ... I think this will draw us closer as a city, as a state, as a nation to begin the healing process that all men were created equal," she said.
State Sen. Floyd McKissick celebrated his re-election at the breakfast, saying, "I think African-Americans see this as a new horizon. We see an unfullfilled promise that has become filled through the hopes and aspirations of all Americans, and we are all very proud of what America represents and what it has become as a result of this victory.”
"People think that things are going to change as soon as possible," he said. "It's not. It's going to take a while."
Raymond Stroud, 63, of Little Rock, Ark., considers himself a conservative and supported McCain – barely. He called the Republican "probably the lesser of two evils."
"It's fantastic," said Hulon Johnson, 71, a retired Chicago public school principal. "I've always told my kids this was possible; now they'll have to believe me."
"People are ready for change. I think (we're) turning over a new leaf as Americans," Sara Reese said.
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