Tuesday January 20 | Inauguration Day 2009

January 20, 2009 at 8:33 am | Posted in Coming Up | 1 Comment

Join us for a special Inauguration Edition of Charlotte Talks. We’ll talk with Charlotteans who are experiencing the festivities in Washington firsthand, as well as some of our Congressional Representatives who will be in attendance at the swearing-in ceremony of President-Elect Barack Obama.
Dr. Debra Smith – Assoc. Professor of Africana Studies at UNC Charlotte
Dr. David Goldfield – Professor of History of UNC Charlotte
Ahmad Daniels – Community Activist, Founder of Creative Interchange
Tonya Jameson – Political Video Columnist, Charlotte Observer
Mary C. Curtis – writer, commentator and journalist
Steve Crump – WBTV News Reporter and Documentarian
Rep. Sue Myrick – NC’s 9th District Congressional Representative
Rep. Larry Kissell – NC’s 8th District Congressional Representative
Rep. Mel Watt – NC’s 12th District Congressional Representative

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Listen to Show

Click here to be a part of WFAE’s Inauguration Coverage.

Inauguration Day Commentary by Mary C. Curtis

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I’m going to a party – with millions of my closest friends.

Yes, I will be attending events in Baltimore and Washington as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America.

I’ve read the warnings about the crowds and the weather – and I have to be there.

Looking at the headlines – economic turmoil at home, war and unrest on several fronts – you might think that this is not the time for celebration. Better to stay home, with a great view and a little impatience for all the pomp to be over and the business of setting the country on a new path to begin.

Not this year.

Part of the reason for joining the crowd in the January cold is business. I am a journalist and this is the biggest story of the year, one I’ve been following since April 2007 when our president-elect was just one of eight hopefuls on a debate stage in Orangeburg, S.C. The man who would be his vice presidential running mate was a rival then, and the front-runner was Hillary Clinton.

That next month, it was the Republicans who came to Columbia, S.C., to make their case on a debate stage.

But it was the Democrats’ year, a point made clear when Obama turned North Carolina blue for the first time since 1976.

On the last night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, I listened to Obama’s acceptance speech, taking notes so I could report the facts. Then, the history hit me – an African American was going to be the Democratic candidate for president. I called my sister – a civil rights activist who stood in Washington in August 1963 to listen to Martin Luther King’s dream. She talked and cried and mourned our mother and brother who also heard King in person that day, and who died before this part of his dream came true.

My son is decades younger, but he was no less excited when I let him listen in that night. It’s his future and his hope. It wasn’t my job to dash them with the cold reality of what comes next.

On election night in November, I attended a Charlotte celebration at the historic Excelsior club on the Westside, as civil rights attorney James Ferguson, and Harvey Gantt, who served as Charlotte’s mayor and came close in his Senate races, looked on Obama’s triumph as their own – and the country’s.

During inauguration weekend, I will still be reporting the facts. And I will be sharing in the excitement of the millions in Washington and the millions more looking on around the world. On the day after the Martin Luther King holiday, surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who broke barriers during World War II, will be joining marching bands and young children whose parents will have to explain what the fuss is all about.

Of course, the biggest story of the year won’t be coming to an end. The business of governing is no party. This morning after will be a doozy.

But the inauguration of Barack Obama is an historic moment in time.

I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

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  1. This show will precede the swearing in ceremonies and Inaugural speech by President Obama. What would your guests expect or like to hear in that address, Mike Collins?

    Also, is there an undertone of political urgency among the people, or are they only giddy with the spectacle and pageantry? This is a good question for Mary or Steve.

    Mike, if he doesn’t address our ills, will there later be a swearing-out? (as suggested for Nixon in 1974 by Harvard Lampoon) I am an Obama fan but he faces some near impossibilities (health care, climate change, domestic manufacturing jobs, quelling terror fears….)

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