In wake of Obama's victory, civil rights leaders make adjustments

November 06, 2008
On the very day that the rest of America elected the first black president in the nation's history, voters in Nebraska approved a referendum banning all government affirmative action programs in the state.
     For many Americans, those two developments add up to one conclusion when it comes to the long and bitter struggle over civil rights: Problem solved. Everyone's equal now. Let's move on.
     Or, as Ward Connerly, the black conservative activist from California who has led a national crusade against race-based affirmative action programs, put it: "We have overcome the scourge of race."
     Civil rights leaders across the country scarcely had time to savor Sen. Barack Obama's unprecedented election victory before grappling with an ironic new dilemma Wednesday: How to keep the nation's focus on the continuing racial injustices they see when an African-American will be occupying the White House.