From the New York Times:
During the presidential campaign, Mr. Obama sparingly addressed matters of race. But as he prepares for his swearing-in on Tuesday, his inaugural is shaping up as a watershed event in the nation’s racial history — the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights.
Just over a generation ago, blacks in the South could not vote without restrictions. On Tuesday, more than 1.5 million people — among them about 200 former Tuskegee Airmen — are expected to pack the capital in honor of the nation’s first black president.
“It is a huge civil rights moment,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “Barack Obama has run the last lap of a 54-year race for civil rights.”