Kwabena Sam-Brew, a 38-year-old immigrant from Ghana, doubted that Nana, his 5-year-old American-born daughter, would remember the rally that effectively crowned Sen. Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee Tuesday night. But Sam-Brew said he would describe it to her:

"I will tell her, 'Tonight is the night that all Americans became one."'

Sam-Brew, of Cottage Grove, Minn., said Obama's achievement would change the nation's image and the mindset of Americans.

"We as black people now have hope that we have never, ever had," he said. "I have new goals for my little girl. She can't give me any excuses because she's black."

In his remarks, Obama did not mention becoming the first American of color with a real chance at becoming president, and most of the Democrats who had voted for him were white. But for that very reason, many African-Americans exulted Wednesday in a political triumph they believed they would never live to see.

But for many African-Americans there remains a fear that race might yet keep Obama from capturing the White House.

"People hate black people," said Michella Minter, a black 21-year-old student in Huntington, W.Va., referring to racism in the U.S. "I'm not trying to be racist or over the top, but it is seriously apparent that black people aren't valued in this country."