Hope meets history: Seniors celebrate inauguration

COVINGTON - Local senior citizens gathered Tuesday morning to witness history, as Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States.

At an inauguration viewing party hosted by Newton County Senior Services at the Turner Lake Complex, about 80 seniors, many dressed in red, white and blue, watched the swearing-in ceremony on a large projection screen.

Periodically, they waved American flags, applauded and chanted, "Obama! Obama!"

Some spoke of how the moment, for them, signified the fulfillment of the dream of equality espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"From the get go, the first time I heard (Obama) speak, the way he came across to me, how he presented himself, how he and his wife got along with his family, I knew he was the one," said 74-year-old Marlene Davis. "This is beautiful, like Mr. King said. It's happening."

"I think it's wonderful. I hope it will be a chance for the country and for the United States," Pocahontas Reed said. "I'm just so proud of him. This is making history. I believe it started back with Martin Luther King. I believe he had something to do with it. His dream came true."

Annie M. Roby, whose grandmother recounted stories to her about life as a slave, said the day is about hope and change.

"Everybody's been talking about how it's time for a change. I hope everybody can fall in line and make our country a better place to be. A lot of people are making a big deal about how he's a black person, but I think he's everybody's person," Roby said.

After Obama took the oath of office, the seniors toasted the new president, vice president and America, along with Newton County, the South and the staff at Senior Services.

Following lunch, some were expected to learn the "Obama Hustle," a new 26-step dance set to Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." The dance, created by a Detroit resident, is becoming increasingly popular, along with the "Barack and Michelle Obama Rock."

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.