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Cheers, honking, weeping as city reacts

on November 4, 2008


Nov. 4 – Cheering, honking, weeping mobs overtook the streets of North Oakland tonight when Barack Obama became the next president-elect of the United States. 

When the news hit at 8 p.m., the city went wild.

From the Democratic Election party held at the Oakland Marriott, to neighborhood block parties, the excitement spilled out into the streets.

One young black man ran down 11th street off Broadway, jumping up and down, screaming, “It means something to me, it means something to me,” over and over, his voice squeaking from excitement.

On Piedmont Avenue, more than 200 people, many waving flags, joined in a spontaneous parade.

At the Marriott, tears as the news sinks in.

At the Marriott, tears as the news sinks in.

At Telegraph and 62nd, Frederick Sanders was standing on the corner holding an Obama sign. People were honking, rolling down their windows and cheering. A woman he didn’t even know came up and gave him a hug.

People poured out of the Everett and Jones restaurant near Jack London Square. They were chanting “USA!”  By 9:00, as the word went out, the crowd was swelling rapidly into a giant street party, and as a precaution, the police had Jack London Square cordoned off.

On the corner of 56th and Shattuck, 30 to 40 people of all generations were hanging out together. They hadn’t planned to meet at that spot, they said; the gathering happened on its own, after the results came in.

Bars up and down College Avenue had TV sets tuned in to watch the results. Patrons watched in silence as the result came in and then erupted in cheers.

Then the voice of a small girl broke the silence: “He did it.”

At the Marriott in downtown Oakland, where hundreds had gathered in the convention hall as a giant-screen projector broadcast CNN’s live results of the vote count, the first televised announcement of the new presidency—the word that Obama had the necessary number of electoral votes—was met, at first, with that same eerie silence. The crowd went completely quiet, staring at the screen. Then the voice of a small girl broke the silence: “He did it.” She was a slender child, perhaps eight years old, and she said it three times in a row—“He did it.” Then she fell to her knees, and the crowd broke out in a collective cry and started to cheer.

“It’s Obama!” one man started yelling. “Oh, yes, it is!” He began to dance in place. A woman in a suede jacket ran back and forth, yelling into her cellphone: “Oh my God. Oh my God.” Rep. Barbara Lee, who was in the process of being re-elected to Congress, tried to speak. But no one could hear her.

Joan Cabaddu, a patron watching the results at the Publik House bar on College, said, “I’m pretty speechless. This is a definitive moment of history. You kind of have to celebrate.”


story by Maggie Fazeli Fard, Melanie Mason, Kristine Wong and Linnea Edmeier||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||


  1. […] Oakland North Cheers honking weeping as city reacts Posted by root 19 minutes ago ( Submitted by cgorney on november 4 2008 11 19 pmno comment by 9 00 as the word went out the crowd was swelling rapidly into a giant street party powered by wordpress log in entries rss comments rss arthemia Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Oakland North Cheers honking weeping as city reacts […]

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