On the eve of Obama's inaugeration I am very proud that our nation has been able to elect a black man as president. It says good things about our country. Our country's black's have every right to be proud and joyful. This event would have been utterly impossible until very recently in our history. I am a student of the American Civil War and aside from the military part of it the plight of the freed blacks has been grossly overlooked. As Federal troops pushed southward tens of thousands of blacks were freed from their masters. Our government had no policy for them at first and only haphazardly organized to care for the refugees. General Grant was one of the most enlightened of all federal authorities. He organized for relief, employment and enlistment of the freed blacks. Even with the help and compassion of many white citizens many thousandsof blacks lived in squalor beyond our present undestanding. General Grant even promised enlisted blacks that if they fought well he would give them the right to vote. This promise could not be kept and as we all know did not come about for over 100 years. We have come a long way as a nation and as a people and I am bursting with pride!