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black american

black american

Barack Obama sworn in / the 44th President / inauguration / oath of office January 20 2009

1y ago
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Senator Barack Hussein Obama takes the oath of office as he is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009 at 12:05pm. He is the first African American president. No more Bush. As a black American who grew up in a segregated nation, Mr. Powell said the inauguration was looming as a powerful and emotional moment for African Americans. You almost start tearing up, he said. The crowd that stretched down the mall was festive and enthusiastic. They were bundled against the cold, with the temperature just above 20 degrees at 9 a.m., and the forecast calling for it to remain in the low 30s. Mr. Obamas assumption of the presidency caps a remarkable rise for a man first elected to national office in 2004, winning a Senate seat in a year when he also delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. To win the presidency, he defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who will become his secretary of state, in a pitched presidential primary battle and then beat Senator John McCain of Arizona in a general election conducted against the backdrop of a national economic collapse. Though Mr. Obama did not emphasize his African American heritage as a candidate, the symbolism was evident and was reinforced by the fact that the swearing in was taking place the day following the national holiday to mark the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. He will take office less than a month before the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, another Illinoisan who took the office at a time of national turmoil and a man whom Mr. Obama clearly looks to as an inspiration for his own presidency. Today is about validation of the dream Dr. King enunciated 45 years ago on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial, Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House and the highest ranking black lawmaker in Congress, said on Tuesday morning. Responding to warnings that the huge crowd could cause long waits and security screen checkpoints, people packed Washingtons subway trains by 5:30 a.m., filling all the parking lots at the outer stations; the subways had carried more than 400,000 riders by 8 a.m. An accident halted service on one of the main lines around 10 a.m. Shortly after 7 a.m., as the sun rose above the Capitol dome, there was a glittering burst of flash-bulbs as the teeming crowd collectively snapped thousands of photos of the dramatic moment. Around the Capitol, ticket gates opened for the long lines that were already waiting. Before long the Mall was packed with people for as far as the eye could see; by 9 a.m the eastern half of the Mall, closer to the Capitol, was completely full. Large crowds continued to stream in on foot from many blocks away, heading to the area near the Washington Monument. On the East Front, where the swearing in of the president used to occur, Marine One was parked in the plaza, ready to be re-designated for the flight taking President Bush and Mrs. Bush to the airport. Inside the Capitol, staffers were scurrying about putting the final touches on the Inaugural Luncheon in Statuary Hall. The corridor leading to the House chamber had been transformed into staging grounds for the caterers, with huge serving tins of beets and green vegetables. Outside the House chamber, were dozens of cases of Korbel Champagne. The tables were set with large centerpieces of red roses. And a lectern, fashioned from a brass statue of a bald eagle, was positioned behind the dais. Decorators were making final adjustments to the lighting of View of Yosemite Valley an 1885 painting by Thomas Hill that was positioned directly behind the President Obamas seat at the center of the dais.