Coast African-Americans bask in Obama victory

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Wednesday was delivery day at a North Gulfport fruit stand. In between the greens and tomatoes, was a copy of Wednesday's newspaper headline. People here say Barack Obama, as first African-American to win the presidency, has given hope to those who have very little.

Bobby Keller said, "I think it will be an uplift for the spirit of people because people began to like spirit broken."

A few blocks away, longshoreman Eric Williams and his friends talked about what it felt like Tuesday night to watch the poll results.

"That's going to be the conversation of the century, because we made history," said Williams.

Jerry L. Lewis said, "Everybody is just excited and happy that an African-American made it to that position. There are so many old people around here that never would have thought they would have seen something like this. I would have never thought a day like this would come."

People say Obama's presidential victory made what they thought to be impossible, possible for anyone ready to work for it.

Williams said, "Obama is going to help the ones that have jobs. The ones that don't have no jobs, you can expect you need to go get you a job. Then everything will change for the better. But if you're out here and you're not doing the right thing, you can't look for better."

"I think it's going help us," said Lewis. "It should help us a lot. But then again, that's going to have to start with us."

The men say right now tough economic times make jobs hard to find and good paying jobs even more difficult. They don't expect things to get better overnight, yet they're optimistic.

Gulfport's Russell Moten said, "Martin Luther King lived and died saying change is going to come. He ain't here see it, but we're all here."

Several residents told us they were planning to attend a community barbecue in Gulfport Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the Obama win.