Harlem Hearts Obama, ‘Other Black President’

Arnold Scarborough, a 45-year-old Army veteran and street vendor, emerged from the lobby of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building and proudly displayed a photograph from inside. “I voted for Barack Obama and I took a picture of it,” he said.

Though Mr. Scarborough said he has voted in every presidential race since he was 18, this year’s election was different. “I never thought I’d see a black man my age running for president,” Mr. Scarborough said. “I mean, I could be president.”

A dozen interviews with voters outside the polling station at 125th Street and Seventh Avenue this morning — from an 18-year-old man voting for the first time to a woman in her late sixties — revealed a familiar refrain:

Harlem has come out in full force behind Senator Barack Obama.

Sharon Grey, 42, voted for Senator Obama at 7 a.m. in the Bronx “with the rest of the working people,” before heading to her job at the Mental Health Department in Harlem. “I voted for the other black president, too, Bill Clinton,” she said, noting, however, that this election has been even more exciting. “This is the first time in all the years that I’ve been voting that I’ve seen a young guy, about 18 years old [on the sidewalk] telling people to vote. [Young people] are lined up on the street. I think that’s what’s going to count.”

Darlene Whitaker, 52, was also on her way to vote for Senator Obama “because he’s intelligent, not because he’s black,” she said. “If a black person was running and I didn’t like him, I wouldn’t vote for him.”

But as for Mr. Obama: “I love him, I love him, I love him,” she said.

If there were any supporters of rival John McCain in Harlem on Tuesday morning, Dorian Miles, 29, has not met them. “I don’t know anyone voting for McCain,” said Mr. Miles, after casting his ballot just before noon alongside his two young children. “If there are any, they must be keeping it a secret.”

Heck, even his 4-year-old daughter seemed firmly entrenched in the Democratic camp. “I’m voting for Barack Obama,” the cute youngster told The Observer.

Harlem Hearts Obama, ‘Other Black President’