Alfred Bouey says "I never dreamed this day would ever happen."
WASHINGTON --- An 84-year-old man from Oak Park, Ill. remembers seeing his grandparents' scars from when they were whipped and beaten as slaves in the American South. That same boy has grown up -- and will now witness Barack Obama become the nation's first black president.
Alfred Bouey may have won a contest that will get him to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 20 -- but he's earned the right.
"I remember growing up in the south when everything was segregated," said Bouey. "I never dreamed this day would ever happen in American history."
Bouey won the opportunity through Brookdale Senior Living's "Experiences of a Lifetime" program. Residents were asked to fill out a form explaining an experience they would like to have fulfilled.
Bouey's life story is quite the tale.
"I can recall the days of slavery when my grandfather and grandmother were whipped and beaten, and had the scars to prove it," said Bouey. "When I saw Barack Obama come out to make his acceptance speech, I started crying and never stopped. I still don't believe it to this day that he was elected president of the United States."
His mother worked hard, and Bouey was able to attend school. After graduating from high school, he attended Arkansas A&M for Negroes only.
He was drafted into the Segregated Army, and served his country with a group of African-American men. Being one of the only college-educated men there, he quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to Sergeant.
Returning to the South after serving duty, Bouey found that nothing had changed. There were no jobs for him, and segregation was still a major fact of life.
In June of 1946, Bouey couldn't take it any longer, and moved to Chicago with $10 in his pocket and no place to go. When President Truman opened the opportunity for African-Americans to work in the government, Bouey took an administrative job with the Army Procurement Division.
In 1954, Bouey was part of the first group of African-American men to become police officers for the Chicago Police Department.
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