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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Black congregants reflect on Obama's victory

November 10, 2008
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Jubilation, pride, and relief permeated pews and pulpits at predominantly black churches across the country on the first Sunday after Barack Obama's election, with congregrants blowing horns, waving American flags, and raising their hands to the heavens.

"God has vindicated the black folk," the Rev. Shirley Caesar-Williams said as a member of her Raleigh, N.C., congregation, Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church, carried a flag and another marched among the pews blowing a ram's horn.

"Too long we've been at the bottom of the totem pole, but he has vindicated us, hallelujah," the Grammy-winning gospel singer said.

In Harlem, Obama buttons and T-shirts were as prevalent in the pews as colorful plumed hats, while in a church in Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederacy, a young girl handled a newspaper with a photo of Obama and the headline, "Mr. President."

At Los Angeles's oldest black church, ushers circulated through the aisles with boxes of tissues as men and women, young and old, wept openly, celebrating Obama's achievement.

At Apostolic Church of God on Chicago's South Side, less than 2 miles from Obama's home, jubilant services were filled with references to the election and calls to be grateful for his victory. "This is a wonderful time to be alive," Dr. Byron Brazier told the mostly black congregation.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama to use presidential authority for quick impact
President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas.

John Podesta, Obama's transition chief, said yesterday that Obama is reviewing President Bush's executive orders on those issues and others as he works to undo policies enacted during eight years of Republican rule. He said the president can use such orders to move quickly on his own.

"There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that," Podesta said. Obama was elected on a promise of change, but the nature of the job makes it difficult for presidents to do much that has an immediate impact on the lives of average people. Congress plans to take up a second economic aid plan before year's end, an effort Obama supports.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama avoids brewing Hill battle over Lieberman
Barack Obama is steering clear of getting involved in one fight on Capitol Hill: whether Senate Democrats should remove Joe Lieberman as chairman of an important committee.

Lieberman's affiliation with Democrats is in question after the Connecticut independent's high-profile support of Republican John McCain for president.

Lieberman has met with Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, but there has been no word on whether Reid intends to try to oust Lieberman as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"What happens on the House and Senate, on chairmanship is their business," Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said yesterday.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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