Chapter

Prologue: 27 July 2004

Carl Pedersen

in Obama's America

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638949
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672059 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638949.003.0001
Prologue: 27 July 2004

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On July 27, 2004, just a little over two months after the fiftieth anniversary of the seminal Supreme Court decision on the case of Brown v. Board of Education that overturned a 1896 ruling permitting segregation by declaring that separate educational institutions for African Americans and whites was inherently unconstitutional, an African American took the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Boston to deliver the keynote address. Barack Obama was a virtually unknown state senator from Illinois who was running for a seat in the U.S. Senate. His advisers had lobbied the Democratic National Committee for a prominent speaking role for their candidate at the Convention. During his speech, Obama was consciously constructing a vision of a post-partisan and post-racial United States for the twenty-first century. In speaking of the need for a ‘new birth of freedom’, Obama harked back to the dark days of the Civil War and the words that contributed to the transformation of the carnage at Gettysburg to a renewal of the American promise, implying that he desired the same for the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Barack Obama; African Americans; United States; Democratic National Convention; Illinois; Senate; Civil War

Chapter.  2998 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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