On Thursday, November 6, something happened in a small room at the Cleveland Public Library, Glenville branch, that made me even more excited about politics than I already was last week. Except it wasn't really about politics at all.
Glenville is the neighborhood where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster lived when they created Superman in 1934. At the time, it was predominantly Jewish. Today it is predominantly black and poor.
Earlier that day I had spoken at the main branch, downtown. The audience was mostly young black people. I was expecting the same in Glenville. Instead I was ushered into a room where about 35 or 40 members of the adult community leadership organization were finishing up a meeting. They, too, were almost all black. Some of them were holding Obama signs—two days after the election. The purpose of the signs had switched from tool of persuasion to badge of honor.
I gave my presentation, hoping they would feel pride for the seminal event that had occurred in their neighborhood. They did seem moved by the story, which some had not known before.
Then my friend Tracey Kirksey, head of the Glenville Development Corp. and almost certainly one of the ten kindest people in the world, asked if she could say something. I said of course.
She proceeded to emphasize how Jerry and Joe were underdogs who had a vision and worked hard to see it come to pass. In succeeding, they bucked the odds and made history. Then she unexpectedly compared them to Barack Obama in spontaneous words so eloquent that I wish I had recorded them. The essence was that she felt she could tell her children that they could be president one day—only now, she finally fully believed it to be true. The others, of course, reacted with jubilation.
Of all the Boys of Steel experiences I've had since the book came out, this was by far the most profound. I felt so lucky to be in Ohio, in Glenville, for that moment.