Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, "White Power!" when nobody will shout, "Black Power!" but everybody will talk about God's power and human power.
Martin Luther King Jr.
At the beginning of the bus boycott in Montgomery black people in the state of Alabama set up a voluntary car to get the people to and from their jobs.
For eleven long months their car pool functioned extraordinarily well. Later the mayor of the city introduced a resolution instructing the city's legal department to file such proceedings as it might deem proper to stop the operation of the car pool or any transportation system growing out of the bus boycott. A hearing was set for Tuesday, 13th November 1956.
On the day of hearing, after both sides deliberated and the court had recessed briefly, the court official came back and said "here is the decision that you have been waiting for. Read this release."
The paper read: "The United States Supreme Court today unanimously ruled bus segregation unconstitutional in Montgomery, Alabama." Everybody's heart throbbed with an inexpressible joy. The darkest hour of their struggle had become the first hour of victory.
Someone shouted from the back of the courtroom, "God Almighty has spoken from Washington!'
It was through this crisis that Martin Luther King Jr emerged as a leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association and eventually the leader of the US civil rights movement.
In a rather unprecedented step in the history of the world, Americans have elected the first black person to be their president. And in about 65 days Senator Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the USA.
Obama's victory is not only meant for black people. It is a victory for conscience. America is the land of liberty and a nation where everybody can rise from nobody to somebody. Obama's story is only possible in America.
America has come a long way in achieving equality. In the fight for equality and justice for all Americans people have been lynched. Innocent children were bombed one Sunday morning in a church building and Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. The journey to achieving race and gender equality in America has not been easy.
For example, when the US Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representations said that blacks were 50 percent of a person. The abolition of slavery in the time of Abraham Lincoln gave birth to racism and segregation.
Faced with social and economic degradation, blacks in the US were not endowed with the right to vote until the late 60's when the Voting Act was passed. It's also interesting to know that women (whether black or white) could not vote in an election until the late 20's when a law was passed to allow white women to vote.
Significance of Obama's victory
Obama's victory is a clear indication that America has now lived up to the true meaning of its creed –that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Obama's victory tells us that people should be judged by the content of their character and not the colour of the skin. Like a good friend of mine used to say the colour of each individual is just melanin and it bears no link with the person's intelligence. Give all people the same chance and environment you will see that no race is superior to the other.
Obama's victory is not the end of the white dominated world but rather the beginning of human centred politics. Many years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said: Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, "White Power!" when nobody will shout, "Black Power!" but everybody will talk about God's power and human power'.
The world expectation of Obama
Never in the history of America has an election generated so much interest. It perhaps stems from the recent economic meltdown, the credit crunch, crude oil, terrorism and most importantly the universal distaste for George Bush's style of leadership. People want to see a leader who can listen.
To most people, John McCain is a carbon copy of G.W Bush. To live in a world where economic crises and war upon war has become the order of the day, voters want a leader who will close Guantanamo Bay, bring American soldiers back home from Iraq, heal the wounds which George Bush has created in the world and finally bring Americans a better health care system, which they urgently need.
Let's hope that President Obama can deliver at least some of these changes that the people of America and indeed the world need.
Credit: Appiah Kusi Adomako, is an international freelance and professional speech writer and writes from London, [email protected]