‘For Older Blacks, Election Offers Fruits of Hard Journey’

Ruth Worthy, 91,

belongs to a generation of African Americans who have journeyed from some of the rawest and brutal eras of racism to the present, when they find themselves relishing the idea of a black man possibly becoming president.

For many blacks ages 90 and older, Tuesday will be one of the most historic events of their long lives. They lived through Jim Crow, the Depression, world wars, the horrors of Emmett Till and the promise of the civil rights movement. Now, they’re watching Obama (D-Ill.) lead in the national presidential polls.

Be they women of relative privilege, such as Worthy, or those of working-class roots, many share the same awe at how far the world can come in a lifetime.

“I would speak to them in the courtyard or on the steps, wherever I would see them,” Worthy said of those she met during her door-knocking. A hint of a Boston accent still lingers in her voice, though she’s lived in the District for nearly 70 years.

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 2, 2008; Page C01