Elections

Jubilance Over Historic Presidential Vote

By Ray Stern

African-Americans partying at a downtown Phoenix bar were positively gleeful after Tuesday's history-making election of the country's first black president.

Local black leaders and their supporters had gathered at Stoudemire's at Second and Washington streets to watch election results. By 10:30 p.m., the full impact of the election of Barack Obama was still settling in.

Spontaneous cheers and raucous laughter broke out from partiers inside the bar and on the patio; one man happily danced down the sidewalk as a group of women looked on, smiling.

"This is monumental," said Gary Flunoy of Phoenix (pictured at left), one of the happy revelers at Stoudemire's. "This is for all of our ancestors, from Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King Jr. -- all of the people that laid the foundation that made this a reality."

State Representative Cloves C. Campbell, Jr. said he just wished his deceased father, Arizona's first black senator, were around to see Obama win the country's highest office.

"We got the best candidate for the job," Campbell Jr. said of Obama. "It's not about one's creed or color -- it's about the integrity of their person."

Brenda Simmons (left) of Phoenix celebrates Obama's win with her daughters, (from left to right), Demetria Abbs, Crystal McKoy and Brittani Simmons.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern