On a brisk day in Springfield, Illinois, an attractive African-American family stood on the steps of the Illinois Old State Capitol waving to a rapturous and diverse audience of Americans following the family's patriarch's announcement that he would run for the presidency of the United States of America. Standing in the shadows of the legislative building where he worked and the adopted hometown of President Abraham Lincoln who was known as the “Great Emancipator” of the slaves, the symbolism was lost on no one. By announcing his candidacy, he was entering one of the most competitive and diverse fields of presidential candidates in the history of the nation, including its first female and first Latino candidates. When the freshman Illinois senator, Barack Hussein Obama decided to make a bid for the presidency, many Americans were surprised and fascinated with the possibility of its first African-American leader. Older Americans, especially African Americans, had clear knowledge and some personal memories of the national history replete with the vestiges of slavery, the Civil War, and a failed Reconstruction Era in the forms of de jure segregation in the South and de facto segregation throughout the rest of the country. Despite the progress made as a result of the legislation emanating from the activism of the 1960s civil rights movement, this history created a socio-cultural narrative rife with prejudice, racism, and discrimination. Consequently, the nation's race relations narrative was fraught with the tensions between its majority and minorities.
Cunnigen, D. and Bruce, M. (2010), "Introduction", Cunnigen, D. and Bruce, M. (Ed.) Race in the Age of Obama (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. xv-xxiii. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2010)0000016003Download as .RIS
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