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Government and Politics


A lot of history being remembered and being made
The honoring of an American hero, a major moment in American politics, and a vision for America spanning half a century
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Raphel Cox heard the MLK dream in person fifty years ago
Courtesy of TPR
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In The Region:

The second inauguration of America’s first African American President, on  Martin Luther King Day, in the 50th anniversary year of the “I have a dream” speech, is quite a moment in history.  And that wasn’t lost on northeast Ohioans.  WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.

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There for the dream
Raphael Cox was among the five hundred Martin Luther King Day celebrants who gathered at the Coleman Youth Center in Canton to both, honor Dr. King, and watch on big-screen TV as President Barrack Obama took his second oath of office.  When cameras showed the crowd stretching two miles along Washington’s National Mall Reverend Cox, he’s a local pastor, was taken back 50 years.  He was 18, just out of high school, and had taken the train to DC to join just such a throng…to, as it turned out, hear Martin Luther King’s dream. 

The way it looks now

Half a century later, watching an African American president sworn in for another term, Cox reflected on that dream’s path. “Though we have evolved into a lot more understanding of where we come from, there’s a lot more of where we’re heading that got to be done.  And so, the journey is yet in progress.”

Historical perspective
Meanwhile, Nadine McIlwain, a retired history teacher who helped organize the Coleman Center event, had an unusual observation about President Barack Obama.  “It’s an affirmation that he was not a novelty, that he was , because it is an affirmation that he is, quote: ‘the real deal.’  That he is a man people in this country believe in.  He has the ability and the strength to move us forward in the direction that we want to go.  I think he’s one of the first Presidents who is a follower.  And by that I mean…he is following the will of the majority of the people.”  

But...that first one...
McIlwain was one of the volunteers who helped put together the event at the Coleman Center, something she’s done for decades.  Except for Martin Luther King Day, 2008.  She said, despite her view that this inauguration is more important historically, she just had to see that first one in person… in Washington.
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