Historic aspects of race discussed

Published 12:26 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

SYBENE— Former West Virginia House of Delegates member Marie Redd recounted the story of how in 1860, a Virginia plantation owner purchased land in what is now Burlington, Ohio, and sent his 37 freed slaves to live on that land. More than 100 years later, some of the descendants of those freed slaves gathered with other Tri-State area residents to celebrate “something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime,” she said, that an African-American would represent a major party as a candidate for president of the United States.

Approximately 50 Barack Obama supporters gathered Saturday evening for a rally at the Sybene Senior Center.

“We’re people from Burlington who want to get out and vote and get others to go out and vote and celebrate Mr. Obama’s achievements,” explained Dawnita Redd, one of the organizers of the event.

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Before he gave his rendition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream,” speech, former West Virginia Delegates member Arley Johnson said he had recently prayed for Obama and for the nation and asked God that as Obama takes the oath of office as president, “would you open up the window of heaven” and allow those who had gone before, the slaves of centuries past, the people who led the Civil Rights march of the 1960s, and others to look out and see history in the making.

“It’s a wonderful time to be alive,” Johnson said, “a wonderful time to be living in this country.”

Deborah Foxwell, of Burlington, said she came to share with others her joys at Obama’s campaign. Foxwell said she is impressed by “his temperament, his policies. He stands for bringing the country together. I hope he wins.”

Marcella Clayborn, of Huntington, W.Va., said she had never been to a political rally until Saturday.

But she came to this one because she supports Obama.

“I think he seems like he would be a good leader,” Marcella Clayborn, of Huntington, W.Va., said.

Others who attended gave their thoughts on why they are supporting Obama as well.

Mark McCown, secretary/treasurer of the Lawrence County Denocratic Party, spoke about Obama’s achievements.