Sunday, January 11, 2009

Contest, McClatchy book mark Obama presidency

As the inauguration of our 44th U.S. president nears, Manatee County's middle- and high-schoolers were asked, “Is President Barack Obama’s election a realization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream? Why or why not?”

In my column today, I gave you a glimpse of just a few of the powerful messages conveyed in the 288 essays entered in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay and speech contest held. Reporter Sylvia Lim covered the event last week at the Palmetto Youth Center in this report; winners were selected from 29 finalists.

I've been a judge since the contest began nine years ago, and each year participation has grown. But this year, entries almost tripled. Is that indicative of keen interest in change as Obama becomes president? One can only hope.

Obama's rise to the presidency will be commemorated in a book produced by McClatchy newspapers,“In No Other Country on Earth.” The title comes from Obama’s major speech on race delivered in Philadelphia before the Pennsylvania primary:

“I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible,” Obama said.

The Bradenton Herald's Nov. 5, 2008, front page will be included in that book, which also will include photos and stories by McClatchy journalists covering the 2008 presidential campaign across the country.

If you're a Herald subscriber, you can receive a discount with preorders of “In No Other Country on Earth.” You'll find information on and here at


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