Today will come and go for you like any other.
The sun has not imploded. Gravity has not been upended. The sky is still the sky and the land is still the land and the sea is still the sea.
Today is just another day for you. And, in the very grand scheme of things, for all of us.
But it does not feel that way. No, today it feels as though the entire world has changed.
Today, a black man has been elected as our president.
You are still very young, but at some point in the next four years, you will come to understand that there is someone in this nation we call our president. You won't at first understand how he came to be who he came to be. You won't know precisely what he does.
You will simply know him as a photograph. As an image on the television screen. As a name spoken on the radio.
And when you come to this very simple understanding, the man you will know as your president will not look like any of the men that preceded him as the leader of our nation.
But you will not know that this is special.
For you will not know — not for a few more years, at least — our nation's great shame. You will not know that, at one time in our history, we held people in chains and sold them as cattle and kept them as property. You will not know that, at one time in our history, we kept people from voting and sent them to sit in the back of the bus and told them that they were not human enough to eat at our side. You will not know that, at one time in our history, we hung people from trees.
Thank God Almighty that you will not know. Thank God Almighty that when you come to learn these things, you will learn them as history. Ancient as the pyramids, I pray.
You will come to learn these things in a classroom full of children of many races, colors and creeds. You will come to learn these things in a classroom full of children belonging to parents who look like your parents and who do not. You will come to learn these things in a classroom full of children who, like you, will be learning these things for the first time, too. You will come to learn these things in a classroom full of children who, like you, will not know that the ascension of a black man into the White House is in any way significant.
For as far as you will know, that is how it always has been.
As you grow you will come to know that our shame is not so ancient, that our wounds are still quite fresh. You will learn that there is still so much work to be done.
You will learn of a dream not yet realized, of a check still not cashed.
Do not be dismayed.
Listen to me, my child: The world can change.
I know that it is so.