Our readers were profoundly moved by John Mavroudis’s February 2 Obama inauguration cover and wrote in large numbers to tell us so. Nation readers, always vigilant, let us know where we erred: Obama is facing the wrong way; we forgot to include _______(fill in the blank); we should not have included (a) Gandhi, (b) Thoreau or (c) _______(fill in the blank); the key was hard to read (we’re sorry; we’ve reprinted it on page 24). We are pleased to announce that in response to your many requests, the cover will soon be available as a poster. Stay tuned. –The Editors
I had just made it home after witnessing Barack Obama’s swearing-in and standing for hours on the National Mall in the frigid air, when I opened my mailbox and laid eyes on John Mavroudis’s cover of your February 2 issue. The image was so moving, I stood weeping in the hallway of my apartment building. I just imagined all those brave Americans who dared to strive for the milestone our country reached on January 20.
An infinitude of kudos to John Mavroudis for creating the best Nation cover ever. He beautifully captured what I and very likely so many others were imagining throughout the inauguration ceremonies: that the throngs packing the capital were dwarfed by an invisible contingent of all the people who’d devoted their lives–from the bad old days of the transatlantic slave trade right on up through the civil rights struggles of the ’60s and beyond–to making this moment possible. They knew this day would come; thanks to Mavroudis, they got to witness it with the rest of us.
If there is a more succinct illustration of that old adage about a picture and a kilo of words, I don’t know what it would be. From the story of an idea and the country founded upon that idea, to the individual stories of the men and women who embraced that idea and advanced it inexorably toward this moment, to the depiction of President Obama’s declaration that being an American transcends race, gender, culture and language, this cover is a triumph of artistic and editorial sensibilities. It underscores another well-known observation, that history is made by ordinary people doing extraordinary things to change circumstances for themselves and for us all. Well done!
Your February 2 cover is the most moving and inspirational I can remember in the many years I have been a reader. A framed copy might help President Obama remember that, as amazing an accomplishment as his election was, there were others who came before to prepare the way. One could appropriately talk of standing on the shoulders of giants. (And thanks for giving Jackie Robinson the right number in your key.)
What a lovely cover by Mavroudis, with Obama being sworn in by Thurgood Marshall (who would certainly have gotten the oath of office letter-perfect). So many people brought babies to the inauguration to photograph them there, to make the great day part of family lore, to be able one day to say, “Yes, baby, you were there.” I hope you will produce this cover as a poster for homes and classrooms. It’s a keeper.