Charles Hallman is in Washington DC today, covering the inauguration for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Minnesota’s oldest black newspaper. When I called, he was writing up notes, sitting across the room from MPR’s Brandt Williams, both Minnesota reporters there to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.
For Hallman, the inauguration is an “overwhelming” historic event, both as a reporter covering a presidential inauguration and as an African American seeing the first African American president sworn in.
“I’m proud to have the opportunity to see something that a lot of people–and I was in that group–never thought would happen,” he says. “Any inauguration is exciting, as a transfer of power that’s done without weapons or under gunfire. At 12 o’clock tomorrow I will witness that, and be able to tell my grandkids I saw history up close and in person, not on television.”
On the streets of the capital, “there’s definitely a buzz — no question about it.” Everywhere you go, Hallman says, everybody is “wearing something Obama — a hat or a button or something. You can’t miss it. You’d have to be under a rock or in a cave not to know what’s going on.”
Everyone, he says, seems to be of one accord. “It seems cliche-ish, but it seems like everybody is in this together, and everybody wants this to happen.” Hallman would like to believe that this spirit will last more than a couple of days, but he’s been around too long to believe that.
You can read Charles Hallman’s reports from the inauguration in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder or right here.
Lots of other Minnesotans
From big-name supporters like Minneapolis attorney Sam Kaplan and Jeffrey Balagna, CEO of the Minnetonka-based Carlson Cos. to schoolchildren from Great Harvest Prep to political luminaries like former Vice President Walter Mondale, and the Minnesota congressional delegation, Minnesota is in town for the inaugural.
• Titilayo Bediyako of the We Win Institute brought two students whose essays won them a trip to DC– Jaleice Johnson, a student at Cooper High School, and Estrella Seals, a student at Cherokee Heights Middle school.
• The Fergus Falls high school band will march in the inaugural parade.
• Twenty-two honors students from Anoka and their teacher went to Washington for the inauguration.
• Harvest Prep charter school sent 23 students and 19 adults on a bus to DC.
• Nelima Kerré, a Kenyan immigrant who now calls Minnesota home, is celebrating in Washington with Africans and African immigrants.
• Other Minnesotans left at midnight Sunday, riding the Unity Bus to DC for the inauguration.