Overjoyed: One Week Later

Since last Tuesday’s historic night, black comedians have joked that black folks haven’t been this happy since the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. I never thought I could ever relate to that type of joy until now.

I now know the meaning of overjoyed.

This feeling hasn’t diminished from Tuesday night. It has only soared.  Each time I see pictures online or on television of happy, black faces crying, hugging, dancing or smiling about Obama’s victory, I am overcome with emotion.  I share in their joy because this victory was not just about one man, it was about all of us. In a country where the Black man and woman were once seen as three-fifths of a person, where Black men and women marched and died to cast a ballot, where a Black man couldn’t even step foot in the White House unless he was there to serve… we finally have a taste of what inclusion feels like.

I now know the meaning of overjoyed.

When I think of the lines of “I, Too, Sing America,” tears of emotion well up inside me. One day they’ll see how beautiful I am… I simply go inside myself again. I think of my great-great grandfather, born a slave in Virginia. Virginia… wasn’t that a state that Obama carried??!!! Here I go again.

Each day since Election Night, I’ve worn buttons of Obama’s face on my shirts to work and t-shirts to bed at night. Just today, I pinned an extra Obama button onto my 2 year-old niece’s shirt.  As I did so, I couldn’t help but think that for the next 8 years (because we KNOW he’s getting a second term) my niece would grow up with a Black President.

2rxcnz8jpgI now know the meaning of overjoyed.

I read an article in Time Magazine that reported that an election official in Florida slept at the polls overnight, because he wanted to make sure that nothing went wrong on election day.  I read an article about people camping out at Dr. King’s gravesite in Atlanta moments after the results came in to pray and honor Dr. King’s legacy.  I saw a picture of Obama on the election trail, shaking the hands of three young black boys. Behind them, what appeared to be a father and a grandfather stood by making sure that their sons and grandsons had an opportunity to shake hands with the next President. I couldn’t help but think that these three boys would grow up knowing that they too, could be President.

Our role models are no longer athletes, singers and rap stars.  We have the highest office in the nation to look up to.

I now know the meaning of overjoyed.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. me too as a 13 year old 7th grader, I am overjoyed. And this has been the first time that the youth has been this interested.

    pacer521
    author of http://culturedecoded.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  2. Posted by Cat on November 10, 2008 at 2:34 PM

    Hi, Frieda! We haven’t met, but I am friend of Claudia’s, and I just wanted to say how moved I was by your post. And that cartoon of the Lincoln Memorial and Obama fist bump is awesome!

    Reply

  3. Can I just say that I’ve cried twice. Once while texting you the next day and again in the airport while watching Jesse Jackson cry on CNN. I think I’m past the tears, but I’m still in a state of euphoria. I keep looking deep in the eyes of strangers, looking for them to acknowledge that everything has really changed.

    Geesh, I really need to get blogging again. Your blog is great.

    Reply

  4. By the way, I added your blog to my blog role on http://thirdkingdom.blogspot.com/

    LET THE CROSS MARKETING BEGIN (echo)!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Frieda on November 12, 2008 at 9:30 AM

    Thanks for all of the great comments! Especially, pacer521. A 7th grader concerned with politics?…..I am overjoyed.

    To add on to this state of over-joy, I also came across another great story about this election. The Time Magazine article that I referenced also mentioned that an Ohio judge ruled that homeless men and women that wanted to register to vote, could use a park bench as their address.

    This election symbolized a time where people were genuinely interested in becoming a part of the political process. I can’t recall how many times I heard someone say that they hadn’t voted in YEARS but had decided that they couldn’t stay home this time.

    I can only begin to imagine what we can accomplish collectively when we decide that poverty, education and human rights are issues that we WON’T STAY HOME FOR.

    Still overjoyed,

    Frieda

    Reply

  6. […] will tell us in the days to come that Barack Obama’s presidential victory, while historic and worthy of praise, means that the work of racial justice and equality “has only just begun.” To guard […]

    Reply

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