The Obama Wave

Obama Campaigns In Richmond And Cleveland On Second Day Of Campaign Tour

Ta-Nehisi sees Obama’s reelection, and the massive turnout among minorities, as evidence of a bigger shift:

The history of black citizenship had, until now, been dominated by violence, terrorism, and legal maneuvering designed to strip African Americans of as many privileges—jury service, gun ownership, land ownership, voting—as possible. Obama’s reelection repudiates that history, and shows the power of a fully vested black citizenry. Martin Luther King Jr. did not create the civil-rights movement any more than Malcolm X created black pride. And the wave that brought Obama to power precedes him: the black-white voting gap narrowed substantially back in 1996, before he was even a state legislator. The narrowing gap is not the work of black messiahs, but of many black individuals.

Person by person. Soul by soul.

(Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) wave to a crowd of about 15,000 supporters during a campaign rally at Byrd Park October 25, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)