Notes from Election Night: Quindaro
By C.J. JANOVY
A small but steady party was going at the Q Brew coffee shop near 18th and Quindaro when I stopped by just as CNN was calling Ohio for Obama.
With the TV on mute behind them, spoken-word duo The Recipe — poets 337 (Desmond Jones, in the white vest and tie) and Priest (aka Theodore Hughes, seated on the stool up front; photo by Richard Mabion) — were proclaiming that neither they nor the new president was “Just Another Nigga.”
Visitors had been flowing in and out all evening, keeping the scene mellow. At one tall table, a mechanic named Gregory Somerville quietly ate a sandwich. The 45-year-old said he’d grown up in the neighborhood. When I asked what he thought of the night’s events, he said, “I’m not a politics person.”
What? He was wearing a red Obama cap!
“I voted for him because he’s black. It is going to be history today,” he said. Still, Somerville said, Obama’s race didn’t matter. “As long as he can do the job.”
First-time voter De’ja Daniels, 19, said she’d been nervous to cast her ballot but things had gone smoothly at her polling place, Victory Hills Church in Kansas City, Kansas, and now she was excited.
Priest, the poet, said he wasn’t excited about this night but was waiting to see what the next four years would bring. He said it was a historic night “for those who have a racial issue,” but that was irrelevant to him. “What sort of job he does is what’s relevant,” he said. “I know we need to be more diplomatic as a nation.”
By then, New Mexico had gone for Obama.
Outside, a handful of men were sitting at the patio tables on the sidewalk, enjoying the warm night air in the glow of the Wilson’s Pizza sign across the street. As I walked to my car, one chased after me.
“I have something for you,” said Craig Stevens, a carpenter from Louisiana who’s working in town. “Put this in the paper: Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our kids can fly.”