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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

Hollywood Obama party has a Latin theme

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 08:35 pm CT by msnbc.com
Filed under Field correspondents 4 comments—join the discussion

Hollywood is Barack Obama country.

Obama raised more than $14 million from the entertainment industry on his way to raising $84 million in California -- two-thirds more than he raised in New York.

Tuesday afternoon at the Media Shop, a television and film production facility, Latinos -- an increasingly crucial Democratic bloc -- were putting the finishing touches on an Election Night party, anticipating an Obama win. As people dribbled in, a gigantic television screen on the wall was blasting the early returns, with  most states still "too early to call." But the collective mood was festive. Individually, the party preparers said they were cautiously optimistic, but they were already brimming with pride.

Latinos feel this is a crucial election and a watershed moment for the community because they've put their imprint on the race. There are 13 million Hispanics in California --about 30 percent of the Hispanic community nationwide and 23 percent of all eligible voters in the state.

During the primaries, Sen. Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in California by an almost two-to-one margin over Obama and the question was whether Obama could woo them. Most polls indicate he has -- again by a margin of two to one -- over Sen. John McCain and in some of the crucial swing states of Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida.  The voters here say the reasons were simple: concern over the economy, distaste that McCain abandoned his immigration policy and greater comfort with Obama after the economy tanked and after his performance in the presidential debates.

When NBC News called South Carolina for McCain, a handful of people paused for a moment before busily returning to blow up more balloons -- and to stock the bar.

-- Michael Okwu, NBC News correspondent

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