Thursday 30 October 2008

North Carolina Day 2, Part 2: The world outside

The transformative effect of this campaign among the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) of Shaw and St. Augustine universities is incredibly powerful and very moving indeed.

The reception for a group of British kids in Obama t-shirts has been incredibly positive. Many of the students are very plugged in to the idea that the world has a stake in the election. Many, though, are taken aback to learn that people from outside the States might be interested in the outcome.

Taking cars full of students to the local community centre (at one stage they were lining on campus for a ride) to register and vote for the first time has overwhelmed us all. One girl we took came out of the polling booth crying with the emotion. Another, who we had initially had to convince not to get dinner instead of voting, was interviewed by local TV after voting and had become a passionate advocate against student political apathy.

The sense that this is a generational election is palpable.

“We’re doing this for you too” said a young black guy in low-slung jeans said to me, coming out of a library whose sign read: “Education is the way to freedom".

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