Witness to a Century, 105-Year-Old Goes to Capitol

'My hope for him is my hope for the country,' she says
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2009 10:49 AM CST
Witness to a Century, 105-Year-Old Goes to Capitol
People fill the National Mall all the way to the Washington Monument in the early-morning hours before the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President.   (Getty Images)

Today’s inauguration of Barack Obama marks an important milestone in an African-American struggle that lasted more than 200 years—and Ella Mae Johnson isn’t going to miss it, NPR reports. After all, she’s been around for nearly half of that struggle. The 105-year-old Cleveland resident will brave hours of cold to see the first black man to assume the presidency.

Johnson, who saw WEB Du Bois speak in 1924 and weathered discrimination in her own schooling, rose before dawn this morning, dressing in pearls and an elegant outfit before heading toward the Capitol in a wheelchair. “My hope for him is my hope for the country,” she says. “If he fails, the country fails. He knows and he says, ‘Not me, but you. Not us, but all of us.’”

(Read more inauguration stories.)

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