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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

'We got issues'

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 11:56 am CT by Bill Dedman
Filed under Bronx 54 comments—join the discussion

081104shirtdetailsmall2 "We Got Issues" is a T-shirt created by students at Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx, where this year's theme was "the new face of American politics."

Why did the school, with an overwhelmingly minority population, focus so much attention on the election?

"I think young people in general, regardless of race, are really excited about this election," says Principal Brady Smith. "But I do know that there's a power in seeing someone who looks like you in an authority position. So for many of our students to see Barack Obama, who has such a life story, in many ways our students have life stories that parallel his. That kind of connection, you can't manufacture. So I know students that are way more engaged because of that."

Click here for a larger view of the T-shirt.

(Image courtesy of Validus Preparatory Academy)

Art teacher Jamie Munkatchy explains how the T-shirts came about:


"Polling data on several hot-button issues was collected by groups of 12th-graders at six different college campuses. To distingush and identify ourselves we wore T-shirts with the 'We Got Issues' logo. The data collected was analyzed in Mr. Jesse Olsen's 12th-grade math class. The image was designed by Wendy Mercado and screened by Elly Tamerez, Astrid Fernandez, Luisa Pena and Tatiyana Lewis."

As part of its year-long focus on the election, the 1school's 12th-grade held a political rally in the gym. The rally was advertised by this old-fashioned political handbill created by students.

Students also created an old-fashioned political handbill for a political rally held at the school.

Featured at the political rally were two seniors, Ahmed Hunt and Juliris de la Rosa, with dramatic reading of speeches by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In addition, spoken word artist Joshua Xavier delivered political poems. The rally was launched by performance art, a re-mix of Obama's speech in Philadelphia on race.

This handbill for the event was designed by the 12-grade art class with teacher Jamie Munkatchy.

Click here for a larger view of the handbill.

(See other posts from the Bronx.)


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