Revelers Gather in Harlem to Watch History Being Made - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue


Despite health problems, Beatrice Dupont ventured out to watch Obama's inauguration. (Source: Black Enterprise)

Out in the fresh air of 125th Street in Harlem, New York just minutes after President Obama gave his acceptance speech, there seems to be almost one street vendor for every onlooker. The vast audience dispersed in just a short amount of time once Obama’s inauguration address ended, but a few people lingered to breathe in the air of freedom and accept the simple gift of a shared experience.

Amidst swirling newspapers littering the plaza outside of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, Beatrice Dupont, 62, a secretary who is now disabled from secondhand smoke, climbed as high as she could to take a photo of the huge Jumbotron which was set up by Time Warner Cable. Despite her ailments, Dupont felt it was important for her to leave the comfort of her home and share this experience with others, even in the bitter cold and even with complete strangers. “This gathering shows that people of different creeds and backgrounds can be warmly embraced by all,”  Dupont says. “It shows that Americans have evolved to a higher level of social consciousness.”

That embrace, though figurative, actually manifested itself from a kind stranger. Unique Brown, 35, a complete stranger to Dupont, wrapped his arms around her waist to carry her down from the icy sculpture of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. She thanked him gladly and they went their separate ways. Brown, a laborer, said that Obama would definitely be able to make a change because of his way of thinking. “He speaks like a preacher,” Brown says. “He speaks to the people, not at the people like President George Bush. Bush made decisions without bringing it to the people.”

Among the few people that peppered the street vendors, was Aboubacar Toure, a student from the Ivory Coast at the New York Lung Center. Toure did not speak English well and did not have anything to say, but long after others had left he continued to stare at the Jumbotron with a look of distant pride and hope.

Further down the street in the warmth of the Apollo Theater, Corine Kemp Scott, an interfaith ministerm and Nadirah Elamin, a nurse, joyfully joked around and took photos of one another. From the speech, Kemp Scott liked the way Obama injected the theme of inclusiveness in terms of all religions and all people, along with his call to responsibility and accountability to Americans. “We can complain and talk about what is not being done,” Scott says. “But each of us has to be accountable.”

As television announcers in the background questioned Obama’s ability to keep his promises, Elamin felt that the most memorable part of his speech was the assurance that everything would be okay. “We will be successful if all Americans participate in the journey of the recovery of our country,” says Elamin.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.