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OBAMA - YES WE CAN: There are very few times when we have the opportunity to watch events of a historical nature unfold before our eyes. Even more rare is the opportunity to bear witness to a seminal moment in the course of human events when there occurs a cultural and historical shift so significant that it fundamentally and forever alters what you conceived prior and what will be after.

I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that the November 4, 2008 election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was such an event.

I know I was not alone in thinking I would never see the election of a Black man as president, not because I didn’t think there were worthy, intelligent, qualified candidates capable of taking the reigns of the most powerful office in the free world, but rather because the election of such a man would require a bottom-up, seismic shift in the racist, prejudicial, stereotypical American views of Black men that have been doggedly perpetuated en masse since the first enslaved Africans were brought to North American shores. And quite simply, history did not provide any evidence to the contrary.

The election of Barack Obama is not a panacea for America’s racial ills, nor does it wipe the slate clean for hundreds of years of egregious substandard, second-class treatment. The celebration of Barack Obama’s inauguration will adorn newspaper covers while the inside pages will document riots in Oakland following the murder of yet another unarmed Black male by a police officer.

Yet, no matter how remarkable, ineffective, or benign Barack Obama’s presidency is, the indelible historical legacy of November 4, 2008 and January 20, 2009 will be that from these days forth, elementary school children today and generations yet to be born will take for granted that someone other than old, rich, white males can aspire to the presidency.

America has, in fact, turned a corner. But before we get headed too far down what we can only hope to be a more inclusive and prosperous road, I needed to commemorate this phenomenal moment in history with these two prints that incorporate some of the newspaper front pages that the world woke up to November 5, 2008.

Yes, we can!

Peace,
James

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