January 16, 2009 by JSOnline — Felmers Chaney is 90 years old. Over the course of his life, he has seen African-Americans fight Jim Crow laws, march for civil rights and, in many cases, gain national prominence. On Tuesday, the Milwaukee resident will see one more racial barrier fall with the inauguration of America’s first black president. “I just didn’t think I would live long enough to see someone who looks like me be president,” said Chaney, who will be among the millions of people gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to watch Barack Obama take the oath of office.
Chaney, a World War II veteran and a past president of the Milwaukee NAACP, will attend the ceremony with his wife, Jessie.
On cars, buses, trains and planes, hundreds of Wisconsin residents are making their way to the nation’s capital for one simple reason: to be part of history. They are families, teachers, church groups, students, public officials and service members.
Some will actually get to see Obama take the oath of office, while others will be lucky to say they were there when Obama was sworn in. A handful of Wisconsin veterans and service members are participating in the inaugural parade. And a few Wisconsinites have even snagged tickets to one of the official inaugural balls.