The Great Awakening Of 2008

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This is what Sen. Clinton is really up against, I think. Not change versus experience or likability or electability. Undboutedly people are excited about the prospect of a woman president, but I think it's safe to say that the possibility of a black president would present an even more fundamental shift in the basic fabric of what America is. And black people know that, and feel it. Especially if he wins in New Hampshire, Barack Obama will become a vessel.

But in dozens of interviews on Friday from suburbs of Houston to towns outside Chicago and rural byways near Birmingham, Ala., African-Americans voiced pride and amazement over his victory on Thursday and the message it sent, even if they were not planning to vote for him or were skeptical that he could win in November.

“My goodness, has it ever happened before, a black man, in our life, in our country?” asked Edith Lambert, 60, a graduate student in theology who was having lunch at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston.