Pamela: February 2009 Archives
Inauguration-bound, they came with their hopes. They came with their dreams.
And right behind them were the street vendors.
No, this wasn't Washington, D.C. Not yet. This was 87th & the Dan Ryan, where the Frazier family of Marquette Park gathered with 96 fellow travelers to hop two charter buses bound for D.C. on a three-day "Road Trip to the White House."
A vendor boards the "Road trip to the White House" charter bus to sell her wares.
Her parents made their way to Chicago in the Great Migration, settling in the Near South Side ghetto then part of the city's Black Belt.
Margie Edwards, 78, of Englewood, has vivid memories of growing up during segregation, of Jim Crow laws and the newcomer called King, of marching hand-in-hand with strangers in Selma.
So when a newcomer came along 45 years later, she was skeptical.
"I said, 'Boy, he don't stand a snowball's chance in hell,' " said Edwards, whose daughter Pamela Frazier is taking Edwards' eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren to Washington for Barack Obama's inauguration as president.
"But I see him one time, and he's got 5,000 people with him, then the next time you looked, he had 50,000 people. It just kept mushrooming," she said. "That's when you think to yourself, 'This young man has got to have something on the ball.' "
Though they're only second-graders, Semaja Frazier and Brian Jackson feel a personal stake in the inauguration of the president-elect.
Just about every Saturday between August and Nov. 4, 2008, the two could be found door to door canvassing for then-candidate Barack Obama in Hammond, Ind.
"We helped him win," said Semaja. "I'm excited. Now we're going to Washington to see him be the first black president. I can't wait."
Semaja Frazier, 8, and her cousin Brian Jackson, 8, beside a Barack Obama project in the hallway of their school.