STILLMAN CAMPUS | As President Barack Hussein Obama gave his Inaugural Address Jan. 21, Stillman history majors reflected on the first African-American president’s programs.
Oakland, Calif., native Quinton Young is eager to see what the nation’s top leader can accomplish during his second term in office.
“It is President Obama’s time to prove himself as a president and not a trophy for African-Americans,” said Young, a senior history major and chief justice for the Stillman Student Government Association.
Young noted that he hopes Obama, 51, will work to improve the economy, decrease the nation’s spending deficit, push Israel to lower its aggression toward the Palestinians and take a more active stance against the Syrian government’s civilian massacres.
Obama’s presidency has also prompted many young African-Americans’ to take part in civic roles and to encourage black communities generally, Young said.
“African-Americans can do whatever they want to do,” he said. “And there is a big ounce of respect.”
Several students said that Obama’s eloquent oratory inspires them. Young noted that he believes the example of Obama’s presidency will encourage other African-American politicians and other minority groups such as Latinos and women to run for the nation’s highest elected office.
Senior history major Trenton Andrews, a native of Albany, Ga., agreed. Andrews, a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, said he is glad that Obama is working to ensure a secure future for the African-American community.
Efforts the President made in his first term to increase access to health care, create jobs, reshape schools and supply more jobs to small towns and in low-income areas are important for African-Americans, Andrews said, cautioning that the impact of those programs is still in progress.
As he did four years ago for Obama’s first inauguration, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts swore in President Obama this his second term officially on Sunday, Jan. 20, in the Blue Room of the White House. The next day, the president was sworn in ceremonially, and his 18-minute Inaugural Address encouraged “collective action” as individuals in a free democracy.
Obama’s use of the Bible once owned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to be sworn into office was widely reported for its symbolic overtones to King’s fight for civil rights and to the co-incidence of the inauguration and MLK Day on Jan. 21.
Other details special of the inauguration include Richard Blanco’s reading of his poem, “One Today,” and Myrlie Evers-Williams’ inaugural prayer.
Blanco is the gay son of Cuban exiles and is the youngest poetry to read at a presidential inauguration.
Evers-Williams was the wife of former NAACP head Medgar Evers when he was slain in 1963 for his civil rights advocacy.
– By Staff Writer Desalyn Easley
Desalyn Easley is a freshman majoring in journalism.
— Editor Dontavia Lewis contributed reporting.