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Freedom riders 

Hope reigns on the road to Obama's encore.

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"We all say Obama is 'a black president,' but we're looking for a leader," he said. "At this point, we can't worry about color. We need a leader. When you read the Bible stories, they say: 'God, give us a king! Give us somebody to lead, because we're in trouble.' When the people of this country realized they were in trouble, that's what they looked for."

He turned, and glanced out at the bus in front of the hotel. Arkansas was calling us both hard by then. A youthful 64, Noble said he believed his children and grandchildren would visit a memorial to Barack Obama on the Mall someday, after history had its say. The way he looked when he said it made me see it with him.

"That's going to be beautiful," he said. "You look at King and then you look at Barack. I've heard them called two black men, standing together. Yeah, they're two black men, but let's say this: 'Two men.' Leave the color out. Let's say: 'Two men.' "

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