Grant Park Erupts In Joy as Obama Declared Winner

Massive Crowds force police to shut down entrance

At 10 p.m.,  hundreds of thousands of Obama supporters erupted in joy as the senator from Illinois was projected to be the winner in the presidential race, becoming the first black man to be elected U.S. president. 

The cheers erupted again when Obama took the stage at 11 p.m. for his victory speech, but were quickly silenced as the president elect began to speak. 

"What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night," Obama told the crowd.  "Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in."

Among those at Grant Park for the celebration were Oprah Winfrey, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and film director Spike Lee.  

Hundreds of thousands poured into Grant Park for the Obama election rally throughout the day. When the gates to Hutchinson Field opened at 6:30 p.m., those in front sprinted toward the stage, quickly filling in the available space as close to Obama's podium as possible. Chicago police closed the entrance to Grant Park around 8:55 p.m. due to the massive crowds, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Approximately a half a million people jammed Grant Park to watch Sen. Barack Obama become the first black man elected president of the United States.

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