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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.


Field reports from NBC and affiliates

Watching from the sidelines

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 05:00 am CT by Bill Dedman
Filed under Bronx 127 comments—join the discussion


Validus Preparatory student Jaquan Arzu (John Makely / msnbc.com)

Tuesday is going to be a frustrating day for many students of all races, because they aren't old enough to vote.

"People around the world, they know what Nov. 4th is. In Russia they know what Nov. 4th is. I feel, dang, I can't vote in the biggest election that there is," said Jaquan Arzu, 16., a student at Validus Prep, a public school in the Bronx.

Arzu has been participating in months of school activities about the election, reading about the candidates, attending debate nights at New York University. And Tuesday? It's just a day off from school.

Arzu, from Honduras, lives with his mother and three brothers in the Bronx. His father is serving in the U.S. Army. Arzu said he's hoping that Sen. Barack Obama will win, and that the election will begin to restore America's reputation in the world.

"The way we're seen in the eyes of other countries -- I've been to Paris, and I've seen how they think of Americans, and it's not funny," he said. "The way we're seen now is sad. At one time we used to be seen as leaders of the free world, but now we're seen maybe as invaders."

(Editor's Note: The Obama poster in the photo is in the teacher workroom. Campaign materials of all kinds are throughout the school, because students have been studying the election.)

(See other posts from the Bronx.)


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