BALTIMORE–Screams and laughter split the tension in the air as a single image of a Black man flashed onto television screens in downtown Baltimore on Election Night.
Words next to the photo showed that President Obama had been re-elected. The news sent the 200-plus people gathered inside M&T Bank Stadium’s South East Club Lounge into frenzied exchanges of high-fives, hugs and tears of joy.
Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” blared from speakers as revelers watched electoral college and popular vote tallies for Obama increase.
“I’m taking it all in,” said James Thomas, 44, who works at Morgan State University. “I’ve witnessed history for a second time and this type of history is very special. We still have a long way to go but we’re headed in the right direction.”
The victor was declared shortly before midnight. President Obama appeared just after 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 7 to thank voters for re-electing him to a second term.
According to numbers released Nov. 7 by the Maryland Board of Elections, Obama prevailed with the help of 310, 922 early votes from Maryland. Another 1,212,866 Maryland ballots were cast on Election Day with his name checked, surpassing the 904,478 votes for Romney.
Obama captured nearly 90 percent of the Baltimore vote, according to BOE officials.
“I can breathe now,” said Janice Jackson, 52, an educator. “The feeling I had four years ago just came back, that feeling of excitement. Now we can move forward and let Obama continue to do what he started.”
“It’s exhilarating and I am so proud,” said Marion Wyley, 69, who let out a
“Hallelujah” when Obama was declared the winner. Wyley said her five-hour wait in a Randallstown early voting line was time well spent.
“Obama didn’t get a fair chance,” she said. “So many people were against him and they didn’t respect him as president. This means so much more than the 2008 election because this is validation [for] him.”
Many Baltimore residents were upset with the negative tone of the campaign, especially many Republicans’ attitudes toward Obama.
“Of all the years, since I was little kid, I have never seen a president–or a man–so disrespected,” Lorraine Burden, 75. “We need to be prayerful for him and his family.”