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'King's Dream Has Come True'

The crowd of college students in the University of Maryland student union counted down the seconds to the polls closing on the West Coast. When Sen. Barack Obama was immediately declared the winner, the ballroom exploded in a frenzy of joy.

A young man grabbed a cardboard cutout of Obama and ran with it in circles around the room, shouting the candidate's name. The cardboard image of Sen. John McCain was downed with a roundhouse kick by another man and trampled by a woman. People wept and called their friends. The screams of joy were deafening.

Ciara Johnson, 21, a communications studies major, wiped tears from her face. "Oh my God," she said. "I'm just so excited. I just feel like Martin Luther King's dream has come true."

-- Nelson Hernandez

By Philip Rucker  |  November 4, 2008; 11:40 PM ET
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