PLEDGE NOW
This American Moment
The crowd waves U.S. flags as it is announced on television that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The crowd at Grant Park in Chicago waves flags as it is announced that Barack Obama has been elected the President of the United States, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP)

History was all over the vote count last night, as Barack Obama — Democrat, first-term senator, African-American son of a Kenyan father and Kansan mother — was elected 44th president of the United States.

In any country on Earth, such a rise would be stunning. In America, with its deep history of slavery, racial strife and race-tarred politics, it is for many astounding. And it has happened.

It was just 40 years ago that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last speech in Memphis. On April 3, 1968, King said he’d seen the potential for equal rights in the United States: “I may not get there with you,” he said. But the Promised Land would come.

Yesterday’s election of Barack Obama may not be the Promised Land. But it is a giant moment in America’s singular national story.

This hour, On Point: Obama’s victory, in the context of history.

You can join the conversation. How would you describe, for the history books, what happened yesterday at the polls? What does it mean for America’s national story?

Guests:

Joining us from Stanford, California, is David M. Kennedy, professor of history at Stanford University. His many books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945” and the bestselling textbook “The American Pageant: A History of the Republic.”

And from Rutgers University in New Jersey, we welcome Nell Irvin Painter, professor emerita of history at Princeton University. She is a leading scholar of the experiences of African-Americans, women and the working class. Her many books include “Southern History Across the Color Line,” “Creating Black Americans,” and “Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 12, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to the cheering crowd at his primary night rally Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire. Ferguson under fire from the Justice Department. A rocky week on Wall Street. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 12, 2016
Overcast sky surrounds a man as he rests beneath the art sculpture 'Cupid’s Span' Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at Rincon Park in San Francisco. The Bay area has endured unsettled, rainy weather for a week. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Love in the digital age. Romance, sex and expectations in a time of Tinder, Bumble and OKCupid.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 12, 2016
Overcast sky surrounds a man as he rests beneath the art sculpture 'Cupid’s Span' Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 at Rincon Park in San Francisco. The Bay area has endured unsettled, rainy weather for a week. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Love in the digital age. Romance, sex and expectations in a time of Tinder, Bumble and OKCupid.

 
Feb 12, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., reacts to the cheering crowd at his primary night rally Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Trump and Sanders take New Hampshire. Ferguson under fire from the Justice Department. A rocky week on Wall Street. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: February 12, 2016
Friday, Feb 12, 2016

Newsletters, disinterested diner women and a place for your feedback. The Internet is vast, friends.

More »
Comment
 
Tom Ashbrook Tries Tinder
Friday, Feb 12, 2016

Host Tom Ashbrook tries Tinder! (For the sake of radio research, of course)

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #9: Remedy Or Replica?
Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

Jack Beatty offers one last note from New Hampshire, and looks beyond to the primary races yet to come in both parties.

More »
Comment