Obama neighbors head to D.C.

January 16, 2009 8:57:27 AM PST
Senator Dick Durbin will have two special guests at the Inauguration of President-Elect Obama next Tuesday.Professor Timuel Black and his wife Zenobia, neighbors of Obama, sometimes offered advice to the president-elect.

"We had a dream, but in our lifetime we never thought the dream would be fulfilled," Professor Black said on Monday.

Professor Timuel Black turned 90 just last month. Black recalled meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior in Chicago in 1960.

Three years later, Black organized more than 2,000 Chicagoans as they marched on Washington to hear Dr. King deliver his 'I Have a Dream' speech.

Forty-six years later, Black and his wife, Zenobia, will be in Washington, DC, to witness Barack Obama being inaugurated as America's first African American President.

"He becomes the one of the most powerful figures in the whole world," Black said. "Now that dream, very few of us could have had the feeling about that kind of dream personified by a person of color," said Timuel.

Black was a professor of Social Sciences for many years for the City Colleges of Chicago. He's written two volumes called "Bridges of Memory" about African Americans who left the South and came to Chicago in search of a better life.

In 1991, Barack Obama, wanting to become a community organizer in Chicago, sought advice from Professor Black.

The Blacks live three blocks from the Obamas in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood. In their words, Barack Obama is going from Chicago's 'hood' all the way to the palace. And they say there will be a lot of tears when they witness his inauguration.

"Tears of joy," Zenobia Black said. "I mean when you talk about your heart bursting with pride, that's how I feel."

It's a feeling made possible by Senator Dick Durbin who is giving them two tickets to the inauguration.

But Professor Black says we still haven't quite fulfilled Dr. King's dream of a post-racial society.

"Race has not been overcome," Black said. "It's still a part of society."