Obama's "homecoming." Presdent's return to South Los Angeles sparks memories of Election Night 2008

It was just over two years ago that I found myself in the middle of history.

For the common man you don’t get to be in a spot like that very often. And rarely do you realize the importance of the history while it’s happening. But being in the right place and the right time, with a little bit of reporter’s intuition (or plain old common sense), is all it took to be part of something that I will tell my grandchildren about.

Find more videos like this on Leimert Park Beat

My wife, Alyson, and I were watching the returns in November of 2009 roll in and switching from TV station to station (just like in 2000) and checking the internet as the map turned blue. I was worried (just like in 2000) but certain that nothing could stop Barack Obama from taking the presidency. And he did so with such a majority.

As soon as it was called and we were sure that Obama won, we put on gloves and scarves and our L.A. winter coats and walked less than a mile to the Soul of Los Angeles, Leimert Park.

The Leimert Park Village, restaurants and jazzy, blues and world music venues, has a beautiful tree-lined city park at the southern tip, an iconic fountain at its center. I knew that was the place to be – the African American cultural center of Los Angeles.

As we arrived, the first man I passed told me “Congratulations” with a big smile and he shook my hand. Already a few hundred gathered as small groups broke out singing and shouting things like “Yes We Did,” “Free at Last,” “Change We Can Believe In.

Find more videos like this on Leimert Park Beat

Crenshaw was crushed in traffic as passengers hung out windows to high five people cheering on the sidewalks.

Find more videos like this on Leimert Park Beat

So many now celebrating had lost so many battles, not in some far off past, but in their lifetime. And here a black man was going to be president. People wept.

A few days later the LA Times even came a did a great video of Leimert Park resident reading Obama’s acceptance speech Of course Obama has had a history with L.A., like the time he came to Leimert Park’s EsoWon Bookstore to sign copies of “Dreams From My Father” and only nine people showed up. But that didn’t stop him from coming back or believing that he could be president.

Back in 2007, it did seem to take a while for people in this area to openly support Obama. Maybe the election was so far off. Maybe the dream had been deferred so many times. But by Election night, Obama had become a fashion icon, as dozens and dozens wore shirts with his visage. Hundreds more would descend on Leimert Park during the night in an impromptu display of joy.
Find more videos like this on Leimert Park Beat
And today his image can be found everywhere, not just in murals or even portraits. But on skateboards, as part of graffiti and on posters with an Afro, much like JFK when I was growing up. A little more than a year after Obama took office, and that glow hasn't worn off.

Find more photos like this on Leimert Park Beat

Sure the economy is just barely bouncing back, and everyone would have liked a better health care bill, err LAW. But the business owners in the Leimert Park Village seem to have weathered the storm and they are more resolved than ever to sell books, make coffee, promote art and culture. Plus more people will have health care now. Check another task off the list, but revisit ASAP. So things are pretty good, better than they've been in ages. The murals are still up and people still wear the shirts that bear the image of the President of the United States. Definitely patriotic.

Obama’s back again today for a fundraiser in Exposition Park at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Science Center (updated - Thanks to LaObserved.com). I wish he could stop by USC and CAAM and the EXPO Center and the 24th Street Theater (though nothing is planned) and maybe I would run into him. Maybe I’ll just see his limo.

Find more videos like this on Leimert Park Beat

Views: 37


You need to be a member of University Park Family to add comments!

Join University Park Family

Comment by 24th Street Theatre on April 19, 2010 at 10:14am
We wish he would stop by 24th ST too!! :)

University Park Family is the news and social network for the neighborhoods around USC and Expo Park. Stay informed. Join now!

       • Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.

• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of your business or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Jo- Koo of DojO- commented on Jo- Koo of DojO-'s event Andrew Yang L.A. Fundraisers Nov., 14th and 15th ~
"Election 2020: Why I'm watching Amy & Andy - By John Zogby, The Hill opinion contributor"
Jo- Koo of DojO- commented on Jo- Koo of DojO-'s blog post The 'new' World Stage [Concert Schedule] Nov/Dec 2019 "Fall back into Autumn Jazz Concert Series +" ~ *updatez* [Spec. Tix Giveaway]
"L.A. previews November 15-21: Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra... (The 'new' World STAGE - "Fall back into Autumn Jazz Concert Series +") Fri. Nov. 15 -- The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra carries on the wild-rolling…"
Jo- Koo of DojO- posted an event

LADIES LO❤️E LAUGHTER - Every 2nd Sat. of the Month at The World Stage 4321 Degnan Bl. L.A.'s Leimert Park Village 90004

November 16, 2019 from 9pm to 11:30pm
Presented by Dwight Trible, Executive Director non profit 501(c)(3) The 'new' World STAGE Art, Education & Performance Gallery "Fall back into Autumn Jazz Concert Series +"LADIES LO❤️E LAUGHTER "♀ Comedy Show" @ The STAGE "Monthly - Longtime Stand-up - Sat., Nov. 16th/every 3rd Sat. Night 9PM "sharp" ~ *updatez*…See More
Jo- Koo of DojO- commented on Jo- Koo of DojO-'s event Andrew Yang L.A. Fundraisers Nov., 14th and 15th ~
"I hope you're celebrating, Yang Gang, because I certainly am!  We hit our $1 million goal last night, allowing us to keep our ad on the air AND we were able to launch new ads that are live right now in New…"
Jo- Koo of DojO- commented on Jo- Koo of DojO-'s event Andrew Yang L.A. Fundraisers Nov., 14th and 15th ~
"Andrew Yang: Yes, Robots Are Stealing Your Job -   - Andrew Yang, The NY Times - Opinion Andrew Yang: Who He Is and What He Stands For -  By Matt Stevens, NY Times"
Jo- Koo of DojO- posted a photo

BLACK NILE + @ The 'new' World STAGE Mon., Nov. 18th 9PM ~ *updatez*

"W/ The Brothas Shaw, the music speaks For: itself" - O-!BLAQUE DYNAMITEBLACKHOUSEhttps://tockify.com/the.world.stage/detail/317/1574139600000;…
Jo- Koo of DojO- posted a blog post

CNN TV: Schedule - Nov. Wkend - Sat. 16th; NEWs + / Film: NIXON by NIXON / Special Report: On The Brink / Decade Series: 70's & 80's ~ *updatez*

 + tonight w/ Don Lemon (Overnite) / Newsrm. Live / New Day Sat. / (Michael) Smerconish / Newsrm. / S.E. Cupp Unfiltered - Mornin' | Afta'noon | Evenin' | Overnite ~ CNN Tonight [11p Replay]Sat. 16th - 12am PT (Overnite, see local listinz)Don Lemon brings you the biggest stories, news-makers & spirited conversations of the day...…See More


© 2019   Created by University Park Family.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service