Engage: January 2009 Archives

Inauguration day on campus
The University community came out in droves across campus Tuesday to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama. Mandel Hall hosted a viewing and discussion of the historic event. (Photo by Lloyd DeGrane) 

Thank you to the folks who have shared their personal perspectives on the Inauguration with Chicago Studies! Here's a selection of photos and writing from Chicago Studies staff and friends.

First, pre-k students in snow boots and formalwear.
Inauguration day in Hyde Park
Inauguration day in Hyde Park by Chicago Studies. The pre-kindergarten students of Bouchet Math and Science Academy dress up for their own "Inauguration Ball." (Photo by Rachel Cromidas)

Mandel Hall was packed during the Progress and Politics event on Tuesday morning.
Robert Gooding-Williams, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Charles Branham, Senior Historian at the DuSable Museum, led a discussion after viewing the inaugural address.
Inauguration day on campus
Photo by Lloyd DeGrane.
Kelin Hall records the cautious optimism of Branham and Gooding-Williams.

Aretha Franklin's performance, he said, changed his expectations for national hymns, and Elizabeth Alexander's poem was the "most engaging, least predictable," part of the event, which "brought it back to the ordinary," affirming Obama's message that we need changes not just in policy, but in the way we treat each other.

Showcasing African American talent, Gooding-Williams said, symbolically affirmed the African American accomplishment. Branham said that in contrast, the "bombastic" nature of the inauguration's opening sermon and introduction, and the un-nuanced linking of Obama with King's legacy, left him "unimpressed."

Supriya Sinhababu reports on inauguration-watching events in Hyde Park.

While Obama's barber Zariff took in the inauguration from the National Mall, Tony Coye tended to the shop's customers between media interviews. Coye says an average of two or three people per day come in asking for the same cut Obama gets.

"I have a client coming in today--her hair is down to her butt," Coye said. "She's getting an Obama cut."

Thalia Gigerenzer watched the inauguratioin from Valois Cafeteria on 53rd Street.

"I remember him handing out literature on the street corner," said Jimmy Prowell, 70. "At first it was hard to imagine him in the White House."

With its cheap eats and friendly conversation, Valois has become a symbol of the diverse community that made Obama--a fact that was not lost on the seven TV stations that marched into Valois armed with video cameras and microphones. 

An employee at Valois Cafeteria--a longtime Obama hangout--take time out to watch Tuesday's inaugural program. Photo: Thalia Gigerenzer

For more student coverage of the inauguration, check out the Chicago Studies inauguration cluster or the Chicago Studies Presidential Inauguration Flickr stream.