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Catawba Students Find Pride, Hope on Inauguration Day

January 22, 2009

Category: Events, Politics, Students

By Kathy Chaffin, ;

When Alex Hartsell was a little boy, his parents told him he could be anything he wanted when he grew up. ;

HartsellAnd he believed them. ;

It didn't matter that he was African-American. What mattered, he said, was that he made up his mind what he wanted to do and put forth the work and effort to accomplish it. ;

Today, Hartsell, of Columbia, S.C., is a communications major at Catawba College. While Tuesday's inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States was historic, Hartsell said he always believed it was possible. ;

"In this time, anything's possible," he said. "The only difference is his skin. He's human, he's smart and he's qualified for the job." ;

It was more difficult for his grandfather to believe that an African-American could be elected. ;

Hartsell recalled seeing tears well up in 78-year-old George W. Hartsell's eyes when they were watching Obama speak during television coverage of last year's presidential election. "It was just a warm feeling for me to see him live to see that," he said. ;

Life had not always been kind to his grandfather. Growing up in the deep South, George W. Hartsell heard stories about his own grandfather being shot in the head by a white man. ;

George Hartsell's parents died when he was young, his grandson said, and he worked hard to support his younger brothers and sisters. ;

There was great prejudice in America then. The races were segregated, and African-Americans weren't given the same rights and privileges as white people.  Read More...





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