He rose at 4:30 a.m., before the sun, to vote for a man who looks like him.
Lloyd Major, 69, who cast his first ballot for Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964, stepped inside the church 16 blocks from his North Miami home. He accepted the ballot and slowly, deliberately, began to shade in the oval next to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's name. It was as much a vote for promises and possibilities as for the man himself.
"There's something reverent about casting this vote," said Major, retired after more than 20 years of working in the community. "It's something that goes beyond joy; almost mystical. It's real and yet difficult to describe."
Major landed on this side of history at 8:16 a.m. Outside New Birth Baptist Church, 13230 NW Seventh Ave., a stream of voters - teachers and bellhops, maids and salesmen, nurses and students - had gathered under gray skies.
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The line stretched around the church and looped into the parking lot.
Major had waited nearly two hours - and much of his life - for this moment.
For 60- and 70- and 80-year-olds, soldiers of the civil rights movement who know something about hate and hurt, Tuesday was the day they had marched for, fought for, died for, even if they didn't know it then. For the first time in American history, a black man had a real shot at the White House, inconceivable to much of the generation that came before Obama.
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