Commentary: I now know how history feels

This must be what it felt like to get word that President Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

To hear the Supreme Court had declared separate, but equal was not equal.

To vote without fearing for your life.

This is what it feels like to believe in the American dream.

This moment.

It is why Harriet Tubman and John Brown risked their lives to free slaves, why Eleanor Roosevelt flew with the Tuskegee Airmen, why Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lyndon B. Johnson shared dreams of an America free of racial injustice. And why so many others – black and white – sacrificed their lives so generations of children could have a chance to be anything they wanted.

Tuesday, a nation once divided by Confederate gray and Yankee blue, white sheets and black fists, united to elect a black man as president of the United States. In doing so, we change how the world sees America, and how we see ourselves. This election is a manifestation of a journey toward equality that whites and blacks continue to take hand-in-hand.

To read the complete column, visit The Charlotte Observer.