The dream is alive

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — Up to this point black mothers and fathers were leading their children based on hope, not history.

“Son, you can be president if you want to.” It’s been said countless times to countless children, black and white.

But not until Tuesday does that dream become a reality for both races.

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The presidential inauguration of Barack Obama is even more meaningful though because of today, local residents said.

Today, America celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Natchez resident Janice Moore, who joined in civil rights marches when she was a child, said she sees a partial fulfillment of King’s dream in the inauguration of the first black president.

“It makes you want to jump for joy, and it makes you want to cry,” she said. “When he was elected, I couldn’t help but remember going to the theater with the doors marked for blacks and whites with my father and going in the wrong side.”

For local Kentrell Clark, seeing Obama take office is exactly what King preached about.

“(King) talked about equal opportunity, and what higher office is there than the office of president?” Clark said.

One of the things Obama’s election does is open up the possibility that others can be inspired by his achievement, Natchez resident Perry Bruce said.

“It can inspire the next young black man to say, ‘I want to be the second black president,’” Bruce said. “If you’ve got the first black president, you can have a second.”

And it is going to take the election of more black people to positions of high power for King’s dream to be truly fulfilled, Bruce said.

“You have to look at the ratio of it,” he said. “Obama is the 44th president. That means that right now it’s still 43-1.”

No matter, Obama’s presidency still sends a positive message to young people, Natchez resident Deborah McNeal said.

“Anything is possible and dreams do come true,” she said. “To see someone of our race in such a position, I think it is wonderful.”

Pastor Queen Jackson said she sees divine guidance in the significant change Obama’s election represents.

“I feel that it is very timely, and I feel it is in the will of God that it happened right when it did,” she said.

And Jackson was excited about it.

“The dream has come alive on the 20th,” she said.