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News & Views
In The Glory of History
Abyssinian Church Celebrates Ties to Ethiopia
Abyssinian Baptist Church working closely together. He moans and cries, even from late Tuesday night. “The helped propel Obama to victory, and open doors of opportunity
Celebrates Ties to Ethiopia talked about Ethiopia’s rich the belly of slave ships. I think American people have spoken, backing the Democratic for our kids, to restore
on the Occasion of Its 200th history and described the they would hear the rhetoric, and they have spoken clearly.” nominee 56 percent to 43 prosperity and promote the
Anniversary. glories of ancient and modern the fi ery rhetoric of Fredrick “Let there be no reason now for percent. Obama also held cause of peace, to reclaim the
A festive white-tie gala for Ethiopia, pointing to the rock- Douglas, or the biting, incisive any American not to cherish a slight edge among men. American Dream.”
the 200th anniversary of the hewn churches of Lalibela as truth of Malcolm X. I think their citizenship in this, the The Democratic nominee did As sons and daughters of
famed Abyssinian Baptist a fi tting example of Ethiopia’s they would see Rosa Parks greatest nation on earth,” he not win white voters, however. Africa, Ethiopian immigrants
Church in Harlem last week timeless treasures and living sitting down, to stand up.” added, lauding the historic The group - which made up had a special reason to savor the
also turned into a victory monuments. Larry Rickenbacker was nature of Obama’s victory three quarters of voters - broke victory of Obama, “Many of us
celebration for President-elect A presence in New York’s more than happy to sweep for African-Americans. for McCain 55 percent to 43 came to this country seeking
Barak Obama. black religious community up after last night’s party: Both McCain and President percent. But black voters, 13 freedom from dictatorship.
“We celebrate tonight 200 since 1808—and in Harlem “A great man has won. It makes George W. Bush called percent of the electorate, voted We love democracy, but we
years of great tradition - the since 1938—the Abyssinian cleaning up a little easier.”
church has always been the Baptist Church has grown Warm feelings in front
center of political activity,” from modest beginnings of ‘Sylvia’s’ as the red-
said 20-year pastor Dr. to a city- and nationwide white-and-blue Obama
Calvin Butts III. Sen. Hillary agent of social justice and on ice began to melt:
Rodham Clinton, who was development. Ethiopian “I have two little children.
there with her husband, Bill, merchants cofounded the It’s a blessing that we fi nally
read a congratulatory letter Abyssinian Baptist Church have an African- American
from Obama, who called in 1808 along with African- as our 44th president…also,
Abyssinian’s history “in so Americans who deserted the that he’s a good person and
many ways a history of our First Baptist Church of New change is going to come,” said
nation.” York City when it decided to Harlem resident Che Moore.
The Abyssinian Baptist racially segregate seating. Tiara Davis said Tuesday
Church celebrated its 200th That’s why the election of night’s presidential election
anniversary and its deep Barack Obama as America’s may also change the life
historic ties of friendship with fi rst black president is of her little girl, 4-year-
Ethiopia. At a white-tie dinner having a profound effect old daughter, Charity:
gala at the uptown Waldorf- on millions of African- “It could mean better education
Astoria Hotel in New York Americans. The moment and health care that she
City, on Ethiopia’s behalf, marks a signifi cant chapter in doesn’t have now,” said Davis.
Ambassador to the United the Civil Rights Movement. And a 76-year-old member
States Samuel Assefa was “Oh this means so much to of Salem United Methodist
recognized as a special guest me. You can’t imagine what Church said she never
by Abyssinian Baptist Church this means to me,” said an thought she’d see the day: Obama Tuesday evening to overwhelmingly for Obama, never dreamed we would see
Leader Rev. Dr. Calvin O. emotional Harlem resident “It’s a wonderful time for the congratulate him on his victory, 95 percent to 4 percent. an African American win the
Butts, III. “For two centuries Wendy Richardson, to CBC. people of Salem and for me as the Obama campaign said. The Hispanics backed Obama over presidency,” said Binyam
president also called McCain, McCain by a margin of 66 Yinesu, told the Washington
the White House said, telling percent to 31 percent, helping post. “Now, maybe America
the Republican nominee, him take the Western states of will have a foreign policy that
“John, you gave it your all.” Colorado, New Mexico, and does not help dictatorships in
Hillary Clinton, the New Nevada. Young voters between countries like mine.”
York senator whom Obama 18 and 29 - 18 percent of the “We don’t expect change to
defeated in a tough Democratic electorate - favored Obama come overnight, but we will
primary battle, released a 66 percent to 31 percent. all get more respect now as
statement saying that she will Independents also backed African Americans. Obama
do “all that I can” to support Obama, by a small margin. will not only be an American
Obama and Joe Biden, the Exit polls showed widespread president, he will be a world
vice president elect, “in the pessimism about the economy president,” said Getachelu
diffi cult work that lies ahead.” and the country’s leadership. Zewdie, the manager at
She said that under their Three in four voters say the Dukem’s restaurant on U
leadership, as well as that of a U.S. is on the wrong track, Street NW, which was fi lled
Democratic Congress, “we will while voters gave high with Ethiopian songs, chants
chart a better course to build disapproval ratings to both and dancing on election night.
the Abyssinian Baptist Church For Wendy Richardson, it is no a person. I am so happy that
has played an integral role in longer just a dream or a piece of I have lived to see this in my
helping strengthen Ethiopia’s Hollywood fi ction, but reality. lifetime,” said Margaret Wise.
relations with the United “My great, great grandmother For the segment of the
States and with the African- had to buy her way out of American population that not
American community.”, the slavery,” added Richardson. so long ago couldn’t even
ambassador said. It was a late night but a great live freely, let alone vote,
“We believe that that’s the night for many Harlem residents Obama’s victory is a defi ning
real center of the redemption right here in New York City. moment in American history.
of Africa, the real heart After a night of celebrations it “I lived through the late
of Africa,” said the Rev. was a morning of refl ections. 60’s…I saw a lot of racial
Calvin Butts III. “Because There were chants, displays turmoil in the country. To see
it’s peaceful, it’s never been of patriotism and moments of the country come to the point
colonized and its people are quiet refl ection. So what does where a minority, a person
fi ercely independent and self the election of our newest of color can be president…it
reliant, and that’s how we see president mean? Reverend Dr. really makes me warm and
ourselves Calvin butts of the Abyssinian fuzzy inside,” Harlem resident
President Clinton also Baptist Church, put it like this: Kevin Long told CBS 2.
spoke passionately about “I would tell them to be very Some 60 million Americans
America’s strong relationship still and listen. And they would - from many backgrounds,
with Ethiopia, calling for the hear the voices of our ancestors. creeds, and colors - stood
two countries to continue I think they would hear their up and let their vote
become their voice.
Obama’s victory comes on Ethiopian merchants cofounded the Abyssinian Baptist Church in 1808 along with African-Americans
the strength of projected wins who deserted the First Baptist Church of New York City when it decided to racially segregate
in battleground states that seating.
went to President George W.
Bush four years ago - among a new economy and rebuild President Bush (72 percent) “This has electrifi ed our
them Ohio, Florida, Virginia, our leadership in the world.” and Congress (73 percent). community like nothing I
New Mexico, Colorado, Democrats increased their Voters overwhelmingly cited have ever seen,” said Hailu
Nevada and Iowa - as well as majorities in both chambers the struggling economy Dama, the manager of Dama’s
a victory in Pennsylvania, a of Congress on Tuesday, as the most important cafe and bakery on Columbia
state that John McCain had assuring that their party will issue in their decision. Pike. Hailu, who came to the
hoped to turn blue to buoy control Congress and the Long lines were commonplace United States from Ethiopia,
his bid for an upset victory. White House just a few short across the country Tuesday as 30 years ago and is one of
As the results came in Nov years after the Republican people waited to cast ballots, Arlington’s best-known
4
th
evening, a senior aide Party controlled both. with waits of up to six-and- immigrant entrepreneurs,
told CBS News the McCain “The road ahead will be long,” a-half hours in Missouri and said “For the past eight years,
camp was hoping for a Obama said in his remarks. four hours in Manhattan. America’s beacon of hope has
“miracle,” but the Arizona “Our climb will be steep. We But many voters persevered grown dimmer and dimmer,
senator was not able to may not get there in one year or despite the long waits, and but suddenly it seems brighter.
defy expectations in one even one term, but America - I elections offi cials predicted We can’t stop celebrating.”
of the worst election years have never been more hopeful record turnout nationwide.
“The American people have spoken, and for Republicans in decades. than I am tonight that we will “This is our moment,” Obama ( CBS 2’s, The Washington
“We have come to the end get there. I promise you - we concluded in his victory Post ,Ney work Time , Market
they have spoken clearly.” John McCain of a long journey,” McCain as a people will get there.” remarks. “This is our time to Watch, New York post)
said in a concession speech Exit polls suggested women put our people back to work
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