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Chicago's Grant Park turns into jubilation park

  • Story Highlights
  • Carol Parr, 57, danced in celebration after Barack Obama's victory speech
  • "Today he won, Mom!" Brooke Mosley, 16, screamed into her cell phone
  • Daryn Gray, 10, cheered the victory: "It's hopeful, and there will be some change"
  • Not everyone was celebrating; a tearful Kristen Hayes is looking forward to 2012
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By Liza Kaufman Hogan
CNN Contributor
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CHICAGO, Illinois ( CNN) -- Forty years ago, Chicago's Grant Park was the scene of violent political protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. History gave Grant Park another chance Tuesday as the scene of a peaceful and jubilant celebration of Barack Obama's presidential victory.

Valerie Holden, second from left, brought her nieces, Bobbi, Jessica and Brooke, downtown to celebrate.

"Look at these people -- old, young, black and white -- I've never seen anything like it, " said Vernita Gray, 59 surveying the crowd of up to 240,000 people after Obama's acceptance speech.

"Today he won, Mom!" Brooke Mosley, 16, screamed into her cell phone. "Fifty years of civil rights, and he won!"

Brooke and her cousins attended the rally with their aunt Valerie Holden. "This is unbelievable," Holden said. "This has been a great experience." Video Watch crowd erupt after announcement »

"I'm stunned, I'm in shock," said Dana Easter as she stood in front of the Chicago Hilton and watched revelers drive by, honking their horns and shouting.

Not everyone was celebrating. At the Young Republicans party across the street from Grant Park, Kristen Hayes was tearful. "I'm visibly disappointed, but I'm hopeful that some of the Senate and House races will turn out differently, and we'll have checks and balances. If not, I'm looking forward to 2012." Share your view of history

Carol Parr, 57, of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was dancing in celebration after Obama's speech. "I am so glad to see it in my lifetime," she said, explaining that she had been through the turmoil of the 1960s and welcomed Obama's victory. Video Watch Obama's victory speech »

The festive mood in Grant Park on Tuesday night was not as apparent a few hours earlier in Hyde Park, Obama's South Side neighborhood.

Jay Warner, 71, a retired postal worker, was reluctant to make any predictions as he ate dinner at Valois Cafeteria. "We'll wait and see," he said.

Around the corner, Tony Coye was helping his brother prepare for a private party at the Hyde Park Hair Salon, where Obama gets his hair cut. In the beginning, Coye said, "we didn't have high expectations because he was black, and whenever a black man runs for president, it's rarely ever covered. What changed minds is the way he spoke and his professionalism when he did it."

Behind the shops on 53rd Street sat Walter Granger, a homeless man who said he had seen Obama in the neighborhood with his daughters on occasion. "I can't say who will win," he said, explaining that he had voted for Obama. "May the best man win."


And some people were pulling for neither Obama nor McCain. On Michigan Avenue, Raoul Duke, 21, waved a red-and-black flag as he wore a homemade shirt that said "No One in '08." "I don't think any candidate is going to make the changes in my life, " he said.

Daryn Gray, 10, held a different view. "I think it's exciting he's the first African-American president. It's hopeful, and there will be some change."

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