Politics & Government

Emotions rise as early voting starts in Florida

The Rev. R.B. Holmes Jr. called it a "Pentecostal experience" as tears welled up in his eyes. Blocks of students marching from the campus of Florida A & M University to the Leon County Courthouse to vote on the first day of early voting with the FAMU band playing along with them.

"History being made in America,'' shouted Holmes, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church outside the courthouse doors in Tallahassee. "In the name of Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. We've done it. In his name...You're prayers are up. Thank God for FAMU. Thank God for a new beginning. Change has come to America.''

Holmes, a Democrat, who was an outspoken supporter of former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, especially his education agenda and voucher programs, is now solidly behind Barack Obama.

"I never thought this day would come in my lifetime,'' he said. "To have these students vote their history, vote their heritage. Our foreparents are shouting and I'm overwhelmed by the Pentecostal experience.''

He said he was inspired by the peaceful march of students to the courthouse building, directly across the street from Florida's Old Capital, where segregationist laws were enacted a generation ago and where, just blocks away, mob lynchings were once sanctioned.

"I've been involved in almost all the marches before but this is certainly the most significant march of the 21st Century -- to make sure that this American dream is not a nightmare,'' Holmes said. "It's a new day in America. We've got to thank God for Barack Obama who can tap into that."

Read the complete story at miamiherald.com