Chicago turns out to celebrate Obama's inaugural

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm •  Published: January 21, 2013
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CHICAGO (AP) — In a museum auditorium in President Barack Obama's hometown, hundreds of people stood and cheered as they watched a live telecast of his inaugural address Monday. Many waved American flags, and some snapped photos of Obama's image on the screen.

The festivities happening in Washington may not have been as poignant as when he became the nation's first black president four years ago. But for the Obama faithful gathered in Chicago, not far from his family's South Side neighborhood and the university where he taught before becoming a U.S. senator, it was still cause for celebration.

"Today is proof positive that history is still being made," Carol Adams, CEO and president of the DuSable Museum of African American History, told the standing-room only crowd inside the 400-seat auditorium.

Eleven-year-old Francito Riley heard about the event and persuaded his 28-year-old sister, Christina Brownlow, to take him and their 12-year-old nephew.

"I wanted to see black history," Riley said.

The family lives a few blocks from the Obamas' Chicago home, and Riley likes to point it out to his friends when they walk by.

"He'll say 'That's where the president lives,'" Bronlow said. "That's inspiring to the kids, to walk by his house and be able to say 'If he can do it, so can I.'"

The significance of the inauguration occurring on Martin Luther King Jr. Day wasn't lost on attendees. Across the city, many organizations combined their King commemorations with inaugural celebrations. At the Union League Club of Chicago, Juanita Abernathy, the widow of civil rights leader Rev. Ralph Abernathy, addressed a crowd prior to a live viewing of the inauguration.

The Chicago History Museum also combined a viewing party with events honoring King.

"There are no coincidences. I don't believe there are," said Alenda Young, 39, of Chicago. "This was exactly what was intended, to show how far we have come in our civil freedoms and in our civil rights."

Young brought a group of more than 100 young people to view the ceremony at the DuSable museum as part of her work with the local chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, an organization established by African American college-educated women.

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