The Marc Steiner Show

Marc reflecting on this historical moment

I have been thinking non-stop, as have many of you, about the Inauguration and coming Presidency of Barack Obama.   Leaving behind for a moment all the political arguments from the left and right, from those who voted for him and those who did not, this is just an amazing moment.   I look at the Obama family and can’t keep from breaking out into a smile.  We are facing the worst of times yet hope is the operative emotion that is coursing through the veins of this nation.   You can read it in the latest polls but more importantly you can feel it when you listen to people, talk to your friends or when people of all stripes discuss this moment.  I have never experienced anything close to this in political annals of our nation.    The closest was JFK, maybe RFK but still, this moment is different.

Over the weekend I could not get Mack Parker out of my head.  Who is Mack Parker?   Fifty years ago he was lynched.   He had been accused of raping a white woman.   Subsequent investigations revealed he was most likely innocent.   But that is not important.   He was lynched by a white mob.   White judges in Mississippi who were part of the White Citizen’s Councils (a refined version of the KKK) refused to do anything about the crime.   His brutalized chained body was found floating on the Pearl River ten days after the mob dragged him from his cell.   I can only imagine the fear and pain he suffered.

When I was almost thirteen years old I opened a Life Magazine.   The picture in the center of the Magazine was of a pair of work boots neatly placed under a cot in a prison cell.   They were Mack Parker’s boots left behind where he put them before a mob dragged him out to be tortured, mutilated and murdered.

I kept that picture on my wall for years.  It haunted me.   It reminded me why I fight for a new America that belongs to all of her citizens, breathing in, and living, the same air of equality.

Now Barack Obama is standing there fifty years later, an African American man about to become President of the United States of America.    Many people have written that just because we have elected an African American President of the United States of America does not mean that racism will end.   They are right, but I deeply believe that it is having and will have a profound effect on American consciousness.

It is an amazing time.    I can’t believe we are here.   The hope is palpable.  Let it be real.

What are you feeling now?


Written by Marc Steiner

Marc Steiner

The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday thru Friday from 10AM to Noon on WEAA 88.9 FM. The show covers the topics that matter, engaging real voices, from Charm City to Cairo and beyond. Call us at 410.319.8888 or email us to participate live in the show, or share your comments on our site! Aren’t in Baltimore but want to listen? Stream the show live.


  1. I don’t have any illusions about quick or gratuitous change. The opposition to change is as strong and well financed as ever, so it will be a real battle. But as Obama has said himself, what the election did for America is provide the opportunity to achieve progress and change that is at the core of what we seek.

  2. I had to work today. My job is on a semi-alert, as it was on Saturday, so I have to be here. But before coming in I took my wife, her sister and another friend to the train station, and we talked about what is different about THIS inauguration. There have been other large ones, like Reagan #1, and other comings-together of the American people, as in after national tragedies. But there probably has not been anything since the end of WWII to suggest a high level of national CELEBRATION, and Barack Obama’s Inauguration tops it all.

    I don’t have any illusions about quick or gratuitous change. The opposition to change is as strong and well financed as ever, so it will be a real battle. But as Obama has said himself, what the election did for America is provide the opportunity to achieve progress and change that is at the core of what we seek.

    Yes, it is truly an amazing time. I also cannot believe we have arrived at this point and it is a wonderful feeling. It is remarkable how widespread these feelings are. In the “‘hood,” and all around the whole damn planet! We can’t let the forces of reaction, of ultra-conservatism, squelch our chances for a new place in the world.

  3. Being the only person of color in the department where I work, (I’m Latino), I can see what the election of Barack Obama has done to some people who refuse, and resist, to aknowledge that a new era is upon us. They feel that just because an African-American has been elected racism is no longer here and they feel free to bring up stereotypes about people of color out in the open.

    In a sense, the election of Obama brought the best of the United States forward, but it also brought in the worst in some people. I have been sensing this from my workplace to the bar I hang out. People who suddenly think they have free range on bringing up old prejudices and racist comments forward. They say that “there’s no more racism because a black guy was elected’, so we can’t complain anymore.

    While today brings much hope for us here and abroad, there is still a lot of work to be done. However, this historic day will be one I cherish for the rest of my life just as that night of November 4th, 2008.

    Yes! A new era of hope has begun! And I cannot erase that Chesire Cat smile from my face! Hope is in the air!


  4. On July 10, 2007, the historic First Mount Olive Freewill Baptist Church in Baltimore was struck by lightning and burned down. After a few temporary venues, First Mount Olive found a home for its Sunday services at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in Pikesville, for as long as necessary. For the past two years, the two congregations have held joint services on the Friday and Sunday before Martin Luther King’s birthday. This past weekend, I was privileged to witness two incredibly moving services that were infused with the spirit of Dr. King and the hope of the historic upcoming Obama Administration. The energy, the joy, the pride, the awe at this unbelievable turn of events, were palpable. Rabbi Andrew Busch closed his Sunday sermon – Bishop Oscar Brown delivered a magnificent sermon Friday night – by reciting the words of the Sheheheyanu, a Jewish prayer that is said the first time something is experienced. Never have those words seemed more apt than at this marvelous time in American history. “Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this occasion.”

  5. Can we b a tad realistic, here?
    Capitalism, under Barak- is not likely to change- which means-much of the world goes to bed hungry- IF they have a bed.
    We sit here in our comfort- bloviating- without the slightest sense of what is going on.
    Go to the markets in Nigeria and cook some pigs in burning tires- go to the sulphur mines in Indonesia and carry out a load of sulphr for tourists to photograph!
    I wish B well, believe me- but without each and every one of us pushing-and him too- getting involved- and that means Mark S and Dan R and Sheila D- we ain’t going anywhere!
    I say push for radical change- expecially re global warming and war and nuclear weapons.
    I see us w prophets like Phil Berrigan or Howard Zinn at the gates- and we are not that different from the Old Testament days- give me a break.

    Whatever happened to Bob Kaufman? Baltimore truly does not honor its own!!

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