{Empty title} | The Nation

I beg to differ with Mr. Greider who said this moment does not belong to us, but to Martin Luther King Jr. and others who martyred themselves.

I voted for Barak Obama not to make him the first black president, but the emotion that welled up within me in this historic moment comes precisely because, like so many others who have worked and prayed and longed for the divisive schism of racism in this country to be exorcised and healed, I felt the lifting of an enormous burden, a collective weight that all of us have labored under and largely been ignorant of since the inception of slavery.

I wept along with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Oprah. I grinned with Al Sharpton. I hooted and cheered and danced in the company of friends.

By the way, I am white, a woman and nearly 70 years old. Even when I wasn't protesting the KKK lynching of young Emmet Till in a northwest city during the '50s, or picketing lunch counters where blacks could not eat, or looking after my sister's child so that she could take part in the voter registration drive in the south in the '60s, I have held the steady knowledge and firm conviction of the truth that all men and women are created equal.

We will be forever indebted to the service and sacrifice of Dr. King and to that of Barak Obama and others.

But we can all claim and rejoice in this moment, because, as a people, we have made manifest the ideals set forth in our nation's constitution and the Gettysburg Address. In that regard, we will be strengthened to face the challenges ahead. It will take all of us to prepare new ground for the change that is forthcoming!