Nothing will change for black Americans on Tuesday, when the first black president takes office. They will wake up in the same homes, go to work at the same jobs, face the same obstacles.
And yet, some Triangle residents say, everything will be different. Many say that Obama's success has prompted them to re-examine what is possible in their own lives, or given them a nudge to pursue ambitious goals.
"It just did something to me to see an African-American stepping up, doing something with his life," said Alexander Aldridge, a freshman at St. Augustine's College in Raleigh. "After this election, there's really no excuse for me to say, 'That's too hard. I can't do it.' "
Aldridge said Barack Obama's victory gave him the final push to apply for a pre-law program.
Many also say they have hopes that their children and grandchildren -- whose history books will forever be changed -- will see their horizons differently. They will never look at a black candidate for president and think that the color of his skin will assure loss.
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