This African-American Moment

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Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters at a primary night rally in Raleigh, N.C., on May 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Sen. Barack Obama greets supporters at a primary night rally in Raleigh, N.C., on May 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Hillary Clinton has spoken — in a powerful appeal last night to Democrats to support the rival who bested her in a landmark contest for American history.

Now, the week’s spotlight begins to turn fully toward Barack Obama — contender, phenomenon, African-American, and very possibly the next president of the United States. Against centuries of American experience, African-American experience, this is vast.

This hour, live from Denver: African-American writers Maya Angelou, Ishmael Reed, and Alice Walker on Barack Obama and this American moment.

You can join the conversation. What does Obama’s nomination — his life, his rise, his color, his challenge ahead — mean for black America? For all America? What do you make of this moment in America’s race history? We look forward to hearing from you.Guests:

Joining us first, to look at last night’s speech from Hillary Clinton and more, is Gwen Ifill. She's the host of Washington Week from PBS and senior correspondent for the NewsHour. Her forthcoming book is "The Breakthrough: Politics in the Age of Obama."

With us from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is Dr. Maya Angelou. One of America's most renowned writers, she is one of only two poets in U.S. history — herself and Robert Frost — to read at a new president's inauguration: Bill Clinton’s in 1993, when she read this poem. She is professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University and author of numerous books, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Her latest book, “Letters to My Daughter,” is out on September 23.

Joining us from San Francisco is Ishmael Reed. A renowned poet and essayist, his cultural criticism has appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun, and many other publications. His "New and Collected Poems" was published in 2006. His new book, "Mixing It Up: Taking on the Media Bullies and Other Reflections," has just been published. He publishes the literary magazine Konch. His piece "Going Old South on Obama" appeared in Counterpunch in January.

And with us from Mendocino, California, is Alice Walker. One of America’s leading literary voices, she's the author of poetry, essays, and fiction, including her 1983 novel, "The Color Purple," which won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. Her piece "Obama is the change that America has tried to hide" appeared in The Guardian in April.

Watch last night's speech by Hillary Clinton at the 2008 DNC

This program aired on August 27, 2008.


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