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About Witnessing History

As Barack Obama became the first black candidate to win the nation’s highest elected office, msnbc.com was on hand to document the thoughts and emotions of members of three generations of African-Americans. Click on the photos below to read a specific thread, or on the NBC logo to read field reports on the role of race in the election. Or you can scan the posts at right to read them in chronological order.

Validus Prep students

Students at Validus Prep, the Bronx, N.Y.

Tammy Baker

Tammy Baker, office worker, Nashville, Tenn.

Henry McGee Jr.

Henry McGee Jr., law professor, Seattle, Wa.

Correspondent

Field reports from NBC and affiliates

'Harlem's never seen anything like it'

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 11:47 am CT by msnbc.com
Filed under Field correspondents 11 comments—join the discussion

In 2004 I voted for president in my neighborhood of Harlem, N.Y., one of the nation’s oldest and most significant centers of African-American culture. I arrived at the polling location midmorning, strolled right in and voted. The whole thing took about five minutes. There was no line. There were no crowds.

Tuesday morning I arrived at the same polling station a few minutes after it opened at 6 a.m. The place was packed. Every step had to be followed with an "excuse me." Several people had cameras, and were taking pictures. I heard one woman say "this is history". Another woman held her young daughter in her arms and kept smiling and kissing her on the cheek, as if she was happy the little girl was witnessing the day. It was a remarkable contrast from four years ago and evidence of the voter excitement on this historic Election Day.

Rep. Charles Rangel, who is up for re-election, lives in my neighborhood and was waiting in line with the rest of us. I asked him if he’d ever seen anything like this before. He replied, "Harlem’s never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen such electricity, such a historic event and I just thank God that I’ve lived long enough to be able to see it. It’s just fantastic."

-- Mara Schiavocampo, Nightly News digital correspondent

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