The election of President Barack Obama was a unique moment in the long and complicated history of race relations in America. A huge symbolic barrier had collapsed. Never before was there so much optimism about escaping the grim clutches of the past. We had made a new start that would lead to new heights.
Hope was infectious. Most whites voted against Obama, but on the eve of his inauguration, 55 percent of whites, as well as 75 percent of blacks, thought his presidency would improve race relations. The profound symbolism of a black man in the nation's highest office could hardly be overstated.
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