D.C. Region Thrills to Nomination Of Obama

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 29, 2008

For 40 minutes, people planted themselves on bar stools in nightclubs and on crowded couches in private homes, their eyes fixed on television screens and history.

There were tears and butterflies and a giddiness to it all, as Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

They gathered at such places as Busboys and Poets restaurants in the District and Shirlington, the three-story Sideline restaurant and bar in Prince George's County and in homes across the region.

There were homes like the one in Mitchellville where the Rome and Eiland families, whose roots are in Detroit, came together for a "soul food feast," said Tony Rome, a 42-year-old marketing executive.

"It is rare to be able to live out a piece of history," he said. "I want to be able to celebrate this moment with friends and family."

Celebrate, indeed.

At Busboys and Poets in Shirlington, diners clapped along as Stevie Wonder performed and applauded when Al Gore took the stage.

At a circular table in the back room, under black-and-white photos of scenes from the civil rights movement, neighbors from Alexandria talked about Obama's remarkable journey and the ways they feel connected to the candidate. Charlie Hundley, 39, was sporting "one of many" Obama T-shirts he owns. Hundley said he has volunteered in voter registration drives and door-knocking campaigns but still has a hard time believing that a black man has a chance of becoming president.

Hundley said he and his wife see some of their story reflected in Obama's life. Hundley is African American, and his wife is a first generation American, daughter of an Irish mother and a Canadian father.

"His life story is our life story," Hundley said. "We try to look at people as people, not as black and white."

Krista Hummer, 33, his neighbor who works as a social worker, sat beside him.

She realized the power of Obama's story, she said, when she was working with a young African American man who was on probation. She photocopied the first chapter of Obama's memoir "Dreams From My Father" and read it with her client.

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