First-time voter excited about historic opportunity

Rahkia Davis, 20, looked out of her Campus Lodge apartment window at 4:30 a.m. and saw voters lining up. At 5:45 a.m., she walked down to the clubhouse and got behind the approximately 50 people who were already in line.

“I feel liberated to vote,” she said at the watch party hosted by the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center. “Blacks didn’t always have the right to vote. After people died fighting for such rights, I can’t imagine not showing up to vote.”

Davis’ mother and two brothers stood in line for hours in St. Louis to vote. One of her brothers then learned he was at the wrong polling place. The line for his correct polling place was just as long. She said her mother drove by to make sure he was waiting, again, to vote.

Davis said she got in line early because she anticipated a crowd and didn’t want to miss class. She had also received e-mails from friends showing pictures of lynchings and water hosing to illustrate the importance of this election to the black community.

“McCain has the same policies as Bush,” she said. “In politics, when a president is doing badly, it’s usually time for a change. But I think he would get more votes if he were not half black.”

Davis said she has young white friends who are voting for Barack Obama despite their parents’ preference for John McCain.

“Our generation hears about history but knows we’re not like that,” she said. “All colors of this generation want to break tradition. They’re not thinking about color like some older people.”

Davis said Obama’s nomination may inspire more blacks to run for political office but she doubts that they will be successful.

“I think this may be a once in a lifetime thing.”

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