Barack Obama has risen from idealistic Democratic outsider to become the first black US presidential candidate of a major party. Gary Younge explores the importance of the Obama phenomenon which has inspired millions, but also the limitations of his political agenda
There was something different about the Martin Luther King Day parade in Charleston this year. To the drumbeats of the marching bands from black schools and more sombre sounds of local black clergymen, came the spirited chants of representatives from local black churches and a throng of the overwhelmingly white coterie of Barack Obama volunteers: "Obama '08! We're ready. Why wait?" Among them was a young man who was "so depressed" after Obama's New Hampshire defeat that he had dropped everything he'd been doing in Guatemala and flown back to help out.