November 4th, 2008
04:59 PM ET
6 years ago

African-Americans note symbolism of UCLA voting

UCLA student David Eaton, 25, checks his ballot after voting.
UCLA student David Eaton, 25, checks his ballot after voting.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) – The historical significance of Tuesday's presidential election has a more poignant meaning for African-American students on the campus of UCLA, where polling began at 10a ET.

Voter turnout is heavy and lines were robust. Campus officials said more than 8,000 new registered voters were expected to turn out among the 30,000-plus student body population.

UCLA is where Ralph Johnson Bunche earned a bachelor's degree and became the first African-American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. Legendary hall of fame baseball great Jackie Robinson graduated from here and went on to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley was a scholar-athlete here.

Junior Rebecca Aladdin was overwhelmed with emotion because she grew up like Robinson in Pasadena, California, and went to the same middle school as him.

"I am the first one in my family to vote today and it brought me to tears placing my ballot in the box," Alladin said.

She credited her great-grandparents and civil rights pioneers like Robinson and other UCLA predecessors for providing the path toward racial equality in a presidential race.

"This is a moment that brings us closer to that chapter in American history."


Filed under: 2008 Election
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Danielle

    I'M A PROUD BRUIN!!!

    November 4, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. JP

    US is a Great Country. I always believe in this Country as one of Imigrant from Congo(RDC). I have been here for 14 years and so far I never experienced any Racial or concern in my carrier. I work in the Insurance business with all races and I have been having most of my friends as white and has been a speaking throughout my carrier about this Great nation. We are one people and one God. Obama/Biden 08

    November 4, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. We're All Different Colors

    This Presidential race is a big deal to many Americans of different ethnicities and cultures, not just to African-Americans.

    Sadly, my son came to me the other day and mentioned that two of his school friends said their parents were voting for McCain. It wasn't the news of who they were voting for that broke my heart, it was the reason they were voting for McCain. Racial equality can never happen until we can all look past the color of our skin. It's not just a black and white issue, it's also all the colors in between.

    November 4, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    The republican party are fear mongering, loveless and greedy. I'm glad there are still some people who vote from their heart and not from a position of fear. I have lost allot of respect for John McCain. He should be ashamed.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Darren from the Valley, CA

    Nice article!! It's nice to see people moving on with their lives.

    November 4, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Elizabeth Herbert

    I am proud to be an American!!!!!! Today, I am proud to have placed my Presidential vote. I did not vote because of the color of skin, I voted because it is my right and responsibility as a American. It is time for change, i see this change in Barack Obama, I truly believe this man can bring great changes to America, i also believe he can and will strenghten our economy. I am proud to have Barack Obama as my President and Joe Biden as my Vice President.

    Elizabeth from Iowa

    November 4, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Brian McCarthy

    This is a wonderfully historical day for African American's across the US and also for minorities globally. Equality has been reached as of tomorrow morning.

    And I'm a white Irish dude.

    November 4, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. sarah in canada

    as a proud CANADIAN and one who was born in kisumo kenya,i feel very honored and proud that i am alive to see this historic event take place....the africans's that were brought to the USA without their consent many hundred's of years ago.....DESERVE AND ARE 100% WARRANTED to have BARACK OBAMA AS THE NEXT PREZ OF THE USA. we in CANADA see the blacks as AMERICANS!!!!! NOT AFRICAN AMERICANS!!!!! all the caucasians are not called EUROPEAN AMERICANS!!!!!! ARE THEY?

    November 4, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. hhscsup

    The republican party are fear mongering, loveless and greedy. I'm glad there are still some people who vote from their heart and not from a position of fear. I have lost allot of respect for John McCain. He should be ashamed.

    November 4, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I think that regardless of your political affiliation, you should be proud of this moment. A lot of hot air gets released regarding the "historic" nature of elections (aren't they ALL historic?), but there is something profoundly moving about this one.

    November 4, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Krysee

    Notice that the author here doesn't break taboo and point out that anybody in the race or at the voting polls is black. I haven't heard any racial labels used at all during this race, though it's so very obvious that these labels are still guiding opinion and determining what is historic and what isn't, as in the above article.

    If it's so historically significant, why can't you say WHY it's historically significant? If reporters are taking racial labels as a touchy taboo subject, they shouldn't even be dancing around them. Either come out and say, "This is a historical campaign because a black man is running for president and likely to win," or treat him like an ordinary human being without trying to attach significance to his skin color or the skin colors of those voting for him.

    Me, I'm voting for Obama. I don't find anything historical about it: my skin is white, I'm an immigrant to this country, I'm a registered Republican, and the Republicans lost my vote every chance they had to retain it. It's only natural to go with the other guy, and I don't see where skin tone has anything to do with it ... and if that's the only thing that's guiding the vote or making this race more historic than any previous election, then America is shallow and beyond saving.

    But clearly, reporters who can't see past it still have to dance around it and find other ways to point it out even if their code prevents them from doing it directly. This media self-censorship needs to stop, this walking on eggshells about racial issues that only exist in the minds of the easily-offended is only creating more tension.

    The above article is clearly meant to draw attention to racial issues without directly doing so. Obfuscation of intent leaves for some pretty dry and pointless reading.

    November 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Lycia Hall

    This is the best time I've ever seen in our history. I'm so proud of America right now, I could cry. From a 57 year old white woman who thinks Obama is great.

    November 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Mark

    Watching CNN today I noticed a "Fact" which read: I am paraphrasing, That Obama or McCain would be the first president who served in Congress to be elected President since John F. Kennedy.

    Either I am missing something but didn't Lyndon B. Johnson, serve in the House and a Senator and was elected President in 1964? If so that was after Kennedy in 1960.
    Mark from Oklahoma

    November 4, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. Samilton

    I too have seen my husband (56 years old) brought to tears while listening to Obama. He gave up on voting. He decided years ago, it wouldn't make a difference because there is no one to vote for who really cares. This year he participated in the early voting and is sitting on pins and needles awaiting the outcome.

    The change has already begun. We can see it in the voter turnout and in the changed hearts and minds of the American people – of all races/color.

    OBAMA 08

    November 4, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. ade

    gud luck obama

    November 4, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Malo

    This is a pride to all, black , white Hispanic and Asian American who all felt that we just could not doi t. Thanks Obama whether win or loose you have lay a foundation for all Americans. We all work hard towards this achievement.

    A big thanks to CNN for not being bias during this election season.

    November 4, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I would hope no one would vote solely determined on the race of a candidate. Race does not determine whether an individual is fit for office or not. Not voting for Obama would not make someone a racist anymore than not voting for McCain would make someone a racist. Racism cuts both way...

    November 4, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. eva

    Tears fill my eyes when I think about all those people who fought in the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s; those who were hosed down and beaten by police, those who remember a time when they could only sit on designated park benches, drink from designated water fountains, those who were there when Martin Luther King recited those famous words. I can't imagine the dreams that filled their heads and how real the dream has become today. America was built on dreams and today is a dream so many of us, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc... We knew the future would bring equality, but today it is very, very real.

    November 4, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. Andrew Parker

    I would like to see people recognize Obama for being a potentially great leader because of his character and not because of his race.

    I believe some doctor had a dream about that at one point...

    Don't cheapen his skills and character by labelling him as black and McCain as white.

    -Young white male.

    November 4, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Lorie Patel

    My daughter missed filing an absentee ballot so she drove home to Richmond from Sweet Briar College some two hours away to take part in the democratic process for the first time in her life. There were no lines however just after I was asked for my ID to verify my registration I was asked to remove my Obama button from my blouse prior to entering the booth. My daughter was surprised as was I. If I had an Obama T-shirt on would I have been asked to remove it and vote naked?

    November 4, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    I would hope no one would vote solely determined on the race of a candidate. Race does not determine whether an individual is fit for office or not. Not voting for Obama would not make someone a racist anymore than not voting for McCain would make someone a racist. Racism cuts both way...

    November 4, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. gord

    "History at the ballot box"
    I just hope it is not a repeat of the history of the 2000 and 2004 elections where in 2000 there were thousands of ballots in Floriday denied (by a Republican state official) – ballots that were from predominantly Democratic leaning areas (Bush won the Florida and the election by the slimmest of margins) and in 2004 where there were numerous reports of computerized voting machine irregularities (how else did Bush get re-elected?). The Republicans have demonstrated one consistent behaviour – win, win at any and all costs. Steal it if necessary. Power doesn't give it up easily.

    November 4, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Independent white female patriotic voter

    America is going to heal in so many ways when Obama becomes president tonight. I am looking forward to having him as our president and I am thrilled that this amazing man is giving the African Americans the joy and pride they so deserve. For the younger generation it is a lot less significant but still, very significant, however, for the older generation, this is a moment that is beyond their imagination and wildest dreams.

    November 4, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Voted my conscious

    Socialism would be a change for this country – just not a good one for America, unless we want to join the likes of Cuba, China & Vietnam. I backed McCain.

    November 4, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. kimere

    The change we seek is within us

    November 4, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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