Staff Photo by Shane McMillan UTC and Chattanooga police clear Obama supporters from the corner of University and 8th on the UTC campus on Tuesday night just after the announcement that Barack Obama had won the race. Over 200 students poured onto the streets to celebrate his win.
UTC students danced in the streets minutes after Sen. John McCain conceded defeat and Sen. Barack Obama’s election as president became apparent.
A crowd of nearly 300 students packed the sidewalk at the corner of 8th and University streets. Some students said the impromptu celebration resulted from overflowing emotions.
“This is history, this is something we can look back and tell our kids that we were a part of,” said Art Egbe, 20, of Memphis, who is black. “We weren’t old enough to be a part of the civil rights movement, but this is our chance to be together.”
Most of the students said this was their first time to vote and that the election and streetside celebration will be lifelong memories.
“This is the most exciting year of my life,” said Payge Kizer, 18, a black student from Memphis. “I graduated high school, I went off to college and I voted for the first black president of the United States,”
Some participating in the celebration said Tuesday’s election makes real the promises of parents and teachers who said the students could be anything if they tried.
“This marks a new beginning for me. My motto now is, ‘The sky is the limit,’ ” said Shirley Ntuk, 20, of New Jersey, who is black. “I feel like I can’t be stopped.”
Campus police and Chattanooga Police Department cruisers dispersed the crowd as some celebrants danced in front of patrol cars, chanting the president-elect’s last name.
Republicans in the crowd included Austin Staton, 18, a white student from Greenbriar, Tenn., who said he voted for Sen. McCain and came to see what the celebration was about.
“Personally, I just don’t agree with most of the taxation plans for Obama,” Mr. Staton. “To be honest, I think this is all a little bit ridiculous. This isn’t the civil rights era anymore.”
Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...