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'It's time to change America'

August 29, 2008
'I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."

Civil rights activist Reverend Martin Luther King Jr spoke those words on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

On Thursday night, exactly 45 years later, part of that dream has been fulfilled. United States Senator Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States, the first African-American man ever to win a major party's nomination for America’s highest office.

Much has been made of Senator Obama's oratorical skills, and with good reason. As he delivered his acceptance speech, one might have thought it was Reverend King on stage, channeling himself through the 47-year-old junior Senator from Illinois.

Obama's meteoric, historic rise has dumbfounded even his most ardent of supporters. From a mere community organiser in the early-1990s he has, in less than two decades, climbed up the Illinois state legislature, to the US Senate and now stands at the threshold of the Presidency. Critics have complained that Obama's well-publicised addresses are too vague and too lofty, but last night's 45-minute speech is likely to put these arguments to rest. Deftly combining his soaring rhetoric with substantive talking points and biographical tidbits, Obama wove an intricate, compelling case for his Presidency, one that ultimately rests on a goal to keep alive the 'American Promise'.

Text: Matthew Schneeberger | Image: Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi

Also read: He built bridges from early on: Obama's sister

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