Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Obama Inauguration - A Cincinnati Perspective

On assignment for school, I was tasked with documenting the Inauguration. You may not believe this, but there wasn't much going on in Athens, Ohio where I go to school. Not interested in traveling to fight the crowd in Washington D.C., I decided to head home for the assignment.

Back in October, Cincinnati was visited by both major party candidates. Sen. John McCain and running mate Gov. Sarah Palin spoke at Lunken Airport:

Sen. Barack Obama would speak later that month at the University of Cincinnati. The election took place and Sen. Obama came out on top becoming the first African-American president-elect, a historic election.

January 19, 2009: The Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition of Cincinnati, Ohio prepares to march in remembrance of one of the most well known American civil rights activists. The march is not only a celebration of his life and work, but a victory celebration for Barack Obama who the next day would become the United State's first African-American president.

- Organizers march up Vine St. from the Freedom Center to Fountain Square.

- Dr. William Land delivers a speech at Fountain Square on Jan. 19, 2009.

- Roy Johnson, an employee at the Fountain Square Chipotle, takes a break to to photograph the march.

- Officer Vogepohl of the Cincinnati Police Department holds traffic at the corner of 6th and Vine street during the march.

- Eric Binford helped to lead the march while celebrating the Obama victory.

The march ended at Music Hall with a speech by Rev. Curtis Fuller and other programs.

Public viewing parties were planned all around Cincinnati. Fountain Square, the Museum Center and even the Freedom Center all had planned to show the Inauguration to the public. I chose to go to the Museum Center, it was inside and warm.

A large projection screen was situated beneath the rotunda, flanked on both sides by the murals of Cincinnati history. Droves of people crammed in as a friendly Museum Center staff allowed me to go upstairs to get an interesting perspective on the event.

I left for a few minutes to check out Fountain Square. According to on my Blackberry, the temperature was 17 degrees. Hardly anyone was outside so back to the Museum Center I went. I arrived just in time as the ceremony began. As everyone took up viewing positions one woman began to cry stating "I've been waiting for this for 70 years."

President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were announced on screen. Many, but not all in attendance under the rotunda let out "boos." Then, as the announcer uttered the name "Bara..." the crowd stood and erupted in applause. First, Vice President-elect Biden was sworn in then it was time for Obama to take the oath. Many stood and began clapping, some even crying tears of joy.

- Danielle Thompson applauds while viewing the Inauguration of President Barack Obama at the Cincinnati Museum Center on Jan. 20, 2009.

While many stayed around to watch the Inaugural parade, I left. I made my way out of the Museum Center parking lot and over to Liberty St. to stop at "Ollie's Trolley." Ever since the Democratic Primary Campaign's started last year, I noticed that "Ollie's" had been decked out in Obama campaign posters and paraphernalia. I wanted to stop by to see how those inside were celebrating the Inauguration.

- "Ollie's Trolley" on Central Ave.

- Obama Campaign paraphernalia on the side of Ollie's.

Speaking to those inside, I found that the owner, Mr. Smith, was actually in attendance at the Inauguration in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, back home in Cincinnati, his daughter Mary watched the live broadcast while working at "Ollie's Trolley."

- Mary Smith watches live Inauguration coverage while working at "Ollie's Trolley" on Central Ave. Her father, owner of "Ollie's Trolley" was in attendance in Washington D.C.

While I got to talk with and photograph those inside, I had to satisfy my curiosity. A year ago I had seen the Obama posters on the building and Obama won the election. I had also seen the words "World's Greatest Hamburger" printed on the side of the building, so I ordered the "Ollieburger."

Ollie's Trolley makes a good burger, definitely one of the best! I'd say it ties as my personal favorite. If you ever have the time and if you're nearby make sure you stop by for friendly service and some great food.


  1. Great work capturing these moments from a local perspective.

  2. fuck the police