Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Black Americans travel the buses to eyewitness history of president inauguration of Barack Obama

ATLANTA: President-elect Barack Obama will be on oath in on Tuesday. And people all over the world have begun the journey to Washington so they can observer history.

In honor of first black American president inauguration of Barack Obama. Eager to witness history in the making, students from Morehouse College in Atlanta rode buses to Washington for Tuesday's inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.
More than 1 million people are predictable to flood the capital to watch the investiture of the country's first black president. For African-Americans in general and Morehouse students in particular, the moment is a watershed.

Hundreds of Morehouse students are making the trip. For those riding buses, the plan was to arrive at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday at a church on the outskirts of the city and then depart on subway trains for the Washington Mall. They can then expect to wait for hours in chilly weather for the inauguration ceremony and the parade that follows.
With thousands of buses arriving from different parts of the country for the biggest inauguration festivities in years, the journey means grappling with likely delays and difficulties.

"It is a very deep part of history being made and I don't want to miss out on it," said Malcolm Meredith, 18, as he prepared for his first trip to the U.S. capital.

The act of riding a bus to push for change has played a significant role in black American history. Some students said they had been brought up to see struggle and celebration as part of their racial identity and they wanted a part of what their parents and grandparents had experienced.

Rosa Parks is credited with helping ignite the civil rights movement by refusing to get up from her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955 to allow a white passenger to sit down as mandated by law.
In 1963, tens of thousands of people rode buses to the capital for the March on Washington, during which King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, widely regarded as the high point of the civil rights movement.
Black and white activists rode buses together on "freedom rides" into Southern states in defiance of segregation laws. They were often met with violence.
In 1995, huge numbers again rode buses for the so-called Million Man March in Washington of African-American men.
For some people heading to Washington, Obama's inauguration represents the fruition of decades of struggle. Civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, who was born in 1921 and attended the March on Washington, is due to give the benediction.
Reflecting in an interview on the 1963 march and its legacy, he said it was the most "emotionally challenging" moment of the civil rights movement to that point.
"It was the first time we had called on the nation ... to join us in searching for jobs and justice and freedom," said Lowery. "We didn't know how the nation would respond."

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