DuSable Museum and Gary Comer Youth Center celebrate Obama 2nd term, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 21, 2013 3:58:20 PM PST
America's first black president was sworn in for a second term on Martin Luther King Junior Day, January 21, 2013.

It's only the second time an inauguration day has fallen on the King holiday.

"It's just incredible for it to be Martin Luther King's Day, as well as inauguration day," Amy Hillard said.

Hillard was one of hundreds of people watching the 2013 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama at DuSable Museum of African American History.

"I think about my parents, who thought they'd never see this day, and all our ancestors who worked so hard to make a day like this possible," Dr. Carolyn Adams, DuSable Museum, presidential, said.

Jerome Simmons, who was at the 1963 march on Washington, says today is like fate and history coming together.

"We were at the end of the Mall. We were just having fun. We had no idea of the significance of the march. We were real young," Simmons said.

Jade Hamilton, 11, attended the DuSable event with her dad. Kenneth Hamilton wanted his daughter to see the link between the nation's first black president and the Civil Rights leader.

"I brought my daughter. I actually work here at the museum. I wanted her to be a part of this," Kenneth Hamilton said.

"Makes me good. I feel like I can do a lot in life," Jade said.

In his inaugural speech, the president incorporated the ideals of equality and the need for change in the areas of health care, immigration and gun control.

"He will make the change he really wants to because he has more time to do it," Ronell Quinones said.

This afternoon with the help of performers, the excitement over the inauguration prompted others to remember the legacy of Dr. King on this 50th anniversary of his I Have a Dream Speech.

"Everything he stood for, Barack Obama is manifestation, real life representation of that," Angelica Jones said.

Obama's second term inspires youth in Grand Crossing

The Gary Comer Youth Center hosts hundreds of students year round in the Grand Crossing neighborhood.

On Monday, two special events were planned- a ceremony to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a viewing of the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.

"Having this here makes me want to do something because I know there are people out there who I can help because I was one of those people," said Latonya Williams, 15.

Nai Colton came to watch the inauguration with her nieces and sorority sisters.

"When he took the oath I did get a little teary-eyed because with a lot of things going on like the violence. I just hope we can do a 360 and make a turn around for the better. It has to get better," said Nai Colton.

Deshaise Frierson brought her six-year-old son along.

"We certainly want to make sure we are involving him in the history of our nation and to see an African American president knowing that he too can do that one day," said Frierson

The president's second term holds hope for many in this crowd.

"We know there are lots of things that need changes and let's see if he does it in the second term," said Edith McDonald.

"This just means the world to me. I am so grateful to be here to be part of this, because I never thought I'd be a part of today's inauguration" said Mary Binion.

Some students said they feel inspired by President Obama.

"It motivates me to strive for something in my life. I see how he graduated from Harvard, got his law degree and now he's president of the United States so now I think that could be me in the future," said Terick Middleton.

This special connection is shared by others at the center. Many of the youth were at the center when the First Lady brought a delegation to visit during the NATO Summit in May. And the center's own South Shore Drill Team performed in the parade on Monday.

Staff says these connections have broadened horizons for the young men and women who live in the neighborhood- showing them that all things are possible.