I know why Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, and Oprah shed tears when Barack Obama won on Tuesday, said Mary Mitchell in the Chicago Sun-Times. It's still hard to believe it—a black man is moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. As that reality hit me, I cried, too, "because the dream had been unfilled for so long, it no longer seemed to matter."

"A new era began with the election of America's first black president," said Joan Vennochi in The Boston Globe. The tears in the eyes of Jackson—who witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.—served as "a reminder that Obama's victory closes a curtain on the old civil rights movement."

Jackson's eyes told the whole story, said Matthew Norman in Britain's The Independent. "The angry black man, whose struggles helped pave the path to the White House for the serene black man he waited to greet as his president-elect, was angry no more."

The election proved to black Americans, said James Taranto in The Wall Street Journal online, "in a way nothing else could that this country is theirs as much as it is anyone else's." It would have been "fanciful" to suggest America could elect a black president back in the 1960s. "At some point along the way, a barrier fell."

"If you see tears of joy, try to understand this," said Bryan Hudson in the Indianapolis Star online. "African Americans, even from the days of slavery, have staked their lives on the hope embedded in these words from our Declaration of Independence: 'All men are created equal.'" And now it's clear the nation is living up to its promise.