Flashback: The First Black (Fictional) President

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Irving Wallace
In 1964, my father, Irving Wallace, wrote a novel, The Man, about the first black president. For this, my father received both accolades and death threats. On the final page of The Man one of the characters, addressing his friend the president, Douglass Dilman, speaks words that I find still relevant 45 years later:
“The country’s learned to live with you, Doug, so now, at last, it can live with itself. It has a better conscience today. It feels right….That’s a huge step, the greatest this country’s made since the Emancipation Proclamation. Mr. Lincoln had long legs. But now, for the first time, we’ve found countless men with legs as long, and they’ve made the next step, the giant one. As a result, the country is closer to becoming one nation than it ever has been before—and by the time it becomes one nation, it may be ready, and qualified, to help make our world one world….None of us will ever be the same again—not you—not me—not anyone, anywhere. Thank God.”
David Wallechinsky


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