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Clinton Makes History As Democratic Presidential Nominee

Delegates celebrate after formally nominating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Joe Raedle
Getty Images
Delegates celebrate after formally nominating Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic National Convention made history Tuesday evening: Amid applause, shouts, cheers and in some cases tears, the delegates on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia nominated Hillary Clinton for president of the United States.

Clinton is now the first female presidential candidate of a major American party.

It is a historic moment 150 years in the making, starting when suffragettes demanded the right to vote and Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first woman to run for president in the United States in 1872.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake opened the vote by asking delegates: "Are you all ready to make history?"

And then in a ritual that spans all 50 states and territories, each delegation cast its votes for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Quiet echoes of the acrimony that marked the first day of the convention were still heard in the arena, with some Sanders supporters booing when Clinton was mentioned. But on Tuesday, Clinton supporters were vociferous, easily drowning out the jeers.

The history of the moment was referenced often by delegates.

Isabel Baker, an 88-year-old delegate from Oklahoma, was born in 1929, just nine years after women were given the right to vote.

"I never thought I would live to see this day," she said, as she cast the state's vote.

When the chair of the convention called on the delegation from Vermont, Sanders took the microphone. He asked the chair to suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton for president by acclamation.

"Sen. Sanders has moved in the spirit of unity," Rep. Marcia Fudge said, before asking the convention-goers if they were in favor of the motion.

The arena roared with "ayes" that propelled the moment into history books.

Some Sanders supporters objected, but the roar of the crowd quickly drowned them out. Some of them left the the floor and chanted "walk out" in the concourse of the arena.

The proceedings continued and the night ended with a dramatic nod to the history being made. The singer-songwriter Alicia Keys played "Superwoman" as the photographs of all the previous 44 male presidents were shown on screen.

After President Obama was shown on screen, Hillary Clinton appeared on the screens via a live feed from New York.

Clinton's path to this moment was decades in the making. Her political career began as a social activist in the late '60s. She became the first lady of Arkansas and the first lady of the United States. In 2001, she became a senator from New York. She ran for president and lost the Democratic nomination to President Obama in 2008. And beginning in 2009, she served four years as secretary of state during the Obama administration.

"I can't believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet," Clinton said at the end of the night.

And then she turned her attention to any little girls who may have stayed up late to watch.

"I may become the first woman president but one of you is next," she said.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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