Vice President-elect Kamala Harris spent much of her victory speech on Saturday night showing gratitude for women who she said had “paved the way for this moment tonight,” highlighting Black women in particular, whom she called “the backbone of our democracy.”
Ms. Harris, who is Black and South Asian, said from the stage in Wilmington, Del., that President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. deserved credit for having the “audacity” to choose a woman as his vice president. She wore an all-white outfit in apparent tribute to suffragists.
Her comments echoed the words of Black women across the United States who spent Saturday celebrating Ms. Harris’s ascent, whether at impromptu parties in streets and parks or around a television at home.
“I’m very proud to be a Black woman, very proud to witness this important time in history, given the huge divide that we have in our nation right now,” Tracie Hunter said from the produce section of a Los Angeles grocery store. Ms. Hunter said she was “encouraged that we can continue to have our little Black girls and other girls of color feel encouraged, like they can do whatever they want to do and they can be whatever they want to be.”
Yolanda Latimore, the owner of an advertising agency in Macon, Ga., said Ms. Harris’s rise to the vice presidency was particularly important and would show young Black girls that anything is possible.
“I know that it won’t solve all problems, but it definitely will raise the spirit and the drive of Black women,” Ms. Latimore said, adding that she was “just so glad to see something like this happen.”
Carole Porter, 56, a health care information technology team leader who lives in Richmond, Calif., is a close friend of Ms. Harris’s and first met her at the neighborhood bus stop when they were children in Berkeley, Calif. The pair rode the bus together each morning to a more affluent area. In 1970, Ms. Harris joined the second elementary school class in Berkeley to be desegregated by busing.
“We didn’t know that we were in the middle of this social moment,” said Ms. Porter, who remembered Ms. Harris as studious and disciplined. “We just knew we had to get up really early for school and it was a long way from home.”
When Ms. Porter got a text message from a friend confirming the Biden-Harris ticket had won on Saturday, she said she started to cry, and thought of Ms. Harris’s mother.
“I thought of the West Berkeley flatlands,” she said, “this small, immigrant, people of color, redlined neighborhood we grew up in”
History is made as time passes, but sometime what comes to pass is truly historic, and this moment, the first Black woman Vice-President, is going to be something you tell your grandkids and great-grandkids about for a long time.