New meaning for Black History Month

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The election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States has become a landmark in both American and black history. With Obama's inauguration just a few weeks ago, the significance of Black History Month is especially prominent this year.

"Everything changed with the last election," said Nicholas Smith, a recording arts major. "There is no reason why a black person can't be president. The opportunity is there - it's been there - but now it's more accessible."

Much of Smith's knowledge of black history comes from his parents, he said. His mother was a black student in an all-white high school in Los Angeles, and his father was born in the South, at a time when the "n-word" was written on his birth certificate.

Growing up, Smith's mother made her children memorize Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, Smith said.

"I never got all of 'I Have a Dream' memorized," he said. "I did get the good parts, though I've forgotten most of it now."

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