Hyde Park neighborhood proud of Obama

January 4, 2008 4:03:32 PM PST
Chicago's own Barack Obama is celebrating Thursday night's victory in Iowa as his campaign moves on to New Hampshire. There is a swell of pride and support for Obama in his Hyde Park community.

From neighbors of the Obamas, to perfect strangers, many in Obama's South Side community are ready to see him go all the way to the White House.

Barack Obama is very popular in Chicago, but in Hyde Park, he is a local hero. Everywhere you go, restaurants, coffee shops, barbershops, people are talking about Thursday's big win.

The Obama campaign is sizzling after a decisive victory in Iowa. At Volois, one of Obama's favorite restaurants in Hyde Park, the front page news is just as comforting as the food.

"Actually, it brought tears to my eyes. I was really excited just to know it was a piece of history that had been made," said Shoya Bowman, Obama supporter.

Four years ago, the grass roots, church basement state senator from the South Side of Chicago was virtually unknown. Now Obama is a household name. People from his neighborhood are thrilled he is the frontrunner going into the New Hampshire primary.

"It is a tremendous sense of pride. I go to some of the same stores he goes to. It's just really cool to have a neighbor advance and do really well," said Stefan Fisher, Obama supporter.

"Some of you know I live in Chicago, but I didn't always live in Chicago. I moved there after college because I wanted to work at the grass roots to bring about change," Obama said.

Supporters ABC7 spoke with are happy, but not surprised, especially because he won big in a predominantly white state.

"The reason I wasn't surprised, he cuts to the heart of the believers, because believers didn't see colors, they saw possibilities," said Lance Wrightsell, Obama supporter.

Throughout Obama's home neighborhood it was tough to find anyone who doesn't think he will be president this time next year.

"I think the country has come a long way. I think we're ready to have an African-American president, so I'm happy about it, but not entirely surprised. Satisfied would be the best response," said Mike Sepek, Obama supporter.

Obama still gets his hair cut at the same Hyde Park barber shop. Inside, customers say the Obama buzz will never fade.

"I definitely think it's a monumental moment, good for kids, it shows that anything you believe in, you can achieve it if you believe it," said Marcus Smith, Obama supporter.