“I Marched In Selma”: The Thrill of an Historic Day in Harlem

NEW YORK – By Aswini Anburajan, FI2W Reporter

Sadekh is an immigrant from Senegal. Standing in a line to vote in Harlem’s Little Senegal on 116th St. and Fifth Avenue –a line that’s down the block and represents about a two-hour wait– he is adamant that he’s not voting for Obama because he’s black.

He won’t give me his last name or let me record the interview but he says that he’s been voting for the past sixteen years.

“If I’m just voting for Obama because he’s black,” he asks rhetorically, “how did I vote for all these white guys?”

He says it will take more than just Obama’s getting into office to change world attitudes about the U.S.  His comments are in stark contrast to those of many of the voters around him, who say that the world will see the U.S. very differently if Obama is elected.

Still, black voters –both African immigrants and African Americans– do say that they never thought this day would come.

Gloria Mackey, a long time Harlem resident turned around to ask this reporter indignantly, “How do you think I feel?” when asked what she thought about voting for an African American.

“I marched in Selma. I marched on Washington,” she said.

A voter came out of the polls and walked past the long line and said, “It’s a two hour wait.”

“That’s all. That’s nothing,” Mackey said. She’d already been waiting a long time.