In contrast to the elementary excitement at New York’s Democracy College Prep School–where everyone is excited just to be excited–the audience at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem awaits the arrival of Barack and Michelle Obama with sophisticated intellectualism mixed with the fervor of a heated football playoff game.
As the inaugural ceremonies begin, the audience boos Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas and greets Colin Powell with cool indifference, but erupts with applause upon the entrance of former president’s Jimmy Carter and William Clinton. And President George W. Bush’s entrance elicits a profane response.
“What I see here today and what I want to see here today is for something different to happen. This is what we’ve been longing for for so long. It is a chance for us to push for some very aggressive policies. It is a chance to put pressure on a president that wants to hear from us,” says Cheryll Greene, a fellow at Columbia University.
This morning, Greene said a radio guest on New York’s WBAI radio show Democracy Now spoke about the enslaved individuals who built the Capitol and other buildings surrounding the inaugural proceedings. “The place where the Supreme Court stands was once where slave auctions took place,” Greene says. “It brings it together in a way that is extraordinary. Even if he doesn’t mention the history of the buildings in his speech. I think he expects us to mention it.”
Marcia A. Wade is a reporter at BlackEnterprise.com.