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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

Seattle Posts

Ushering in history?

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 09:29 pm CT by Mike Stuckey
Filed under Seattle 8 comments—join the discussion


Rick Graham and Rosemary Irvin wave Obama signs at traffic on Interstate 5 in Seattle. (John Brecher / msnbc.com)

On a day they hoped would end in history being made by U.S. voters, Rosemary Irvin and Rick Graham huddled in the chilly air high above traffic-choked Interstate 5 and made a little history of their own.

Strangers to each other until they met in the noon hour on an overpass in the city’s University District, the pair of graying but well-preserved baby boomers joined forces to take direct political action for the first time in either of their lives.

Three hours later, with the setting sun barely peeking through the heavy cloud cover, they were still waving their blue-and-white Obama-Biden signs at the passing, often honking, motorists below.

“I never thought I would be standing on an overpass waving a sign,” said Irvin, 57, an attorney.


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Defying stereotypes at Home Depot

Posted Tuesday, November 4 at 04:13 pm CT by Mike Stuckey
Filed under Seattle 66 comments—join the discussion


Army veteran Edwin "Mac" McAdoo works as a day laborer, seeking jobs outside Home Depot. (John Brecher / mnsbc.com) 

A Home Depot parking lot isn’t a typical venue to discuss presidential politics, but this isn’t a  typical election, so we stopped by to work the crowd and see what we could find.

Among the scrum of eager day laborers clamoring for work at the North Seattle store on U.S. Highway 99 was Edwin “Mac” McAdoo. Among the shoppers was general contractor Phil Teller.

And as Sen. Barack Obama’s historic but improbable journey has defied conventional political wisdom, McAdoo and Teller defied political stereotypes.

With a mane of blond hair tucked under a Seattle Seahawks cap and a compact, hard-as-nails physique, McAdoo, 50, appears to be a poster boy of the proletariat, the kind of hard-working common man whom trade unions and Democrats take for granted.

But he’s rooting for Republican Sen. John McCain.


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Doubtless in Seattle

Posted Monday, November 3 at 08:21 pm CT by Mike Stuckey
Filed under Seattle 0 comments—join the discussion


Bruce Gentry spent 20 years building skyscrapers in downtown Seattle. (John Brecher / msnbc.com)

History seems a foregone conclusion in the Emerald City.

On a cold, dark, damp election eve around Seattle’s downtown Pioneer Square, a handful of sidewalk interviews found little doubt that Sen. Barack Obama would become America’s first black president.

“The Republicans are done,” said a jovial Danny Hawkins, 51, a Seattle barber. “They’ve had their share.”


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Pondering racial ironies

Posted Monday, November 3 at 04:46 pm CT by Mike Stuckey
Filed under Seattle 1 comments—join the discussion


Law professor Henry McGee Jr. in his office at Seattle University. (John Brecher / msnbc.com)

Watching last-minute polls and analyses, Professor Henry McGee Jr. is as confident as ever that Sen. Barack Obama will become the first black president of the United States, but he’s also musing over some ironies around Tuesday’s historic election.

Chatting at lunchtime Monday in a campus office festooned with memorabilia from his own career as a cutting edge African-American in U.S. academia, McGee pointed to a news story he had just read. Despite predictions of a sizable Obama victory, “the majority of white folks in the United States will vote for John McCain,” said McGee. “I had never thought about that.”


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