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Tue, 11.04.2008

America Elects Its First Black President

Barack Obama

On this date in 2008, Barack Obama became the first Black man to be elected president of the United States of America.

Obama, the son of a white mother from Kansas and a Black African father from Kenya, was elected as the 44th president of the United States, writing a remarkable new chapter in American history with a campaign built on the theme of hope.

This election race captivated the nation and the world, which climaxed in the gloom of an economic crisis.   The closing of polls on the West Coast showed that what began as the Illinois senator's "improbable quest" nearly two years ago ended as a commanding electoral victory over Republican Senator John McCain.  The Arizona senator had struggled to defy the pollsters in the waning hours of the longest and most (then) expensive presidential election in history.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dreams of our founders are alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," Obama told a huge, euphoric crowd in Chicago's Grant Park.

McCain conceded shortly after 10 pm Central Time, saying, "Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country." As he spoke, spontaneous street celebrations erupted among Obama revelers from Los Angeles to Times Square.

In Chicago, thousands of Obama supporters wept, waved flags, and chanted, "Yes, we did!" Obama reached victory by stringing together a series of crucial wins in battleground states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

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