Metuchen civil rights leader touched by Obama win

President-elect Barack Obama's historic victory is being considered a huge step forward and a testament to the success of the civil rights movement.

The poignancy of America's first black president is not lost upon an early civil rights leader in New Jersey.

"Now I can say we are better than I thought we were and came a lot further than I thought we could," says Donald Wernick, a mayor of Metuchen in the 60s and 70s. "This is a clear indication that we can be proud of our country."

Wernick, now 83 and a grandfather of eight, says Obama's election is a wonderful moment and proof of progress. During his tenure as mayor, Wernick saw Metuchen name its first black police chief and council member.

As mayor, Wernick created a civil rights group that encouraged people of different races to come together and face issues addressing Metuchen.

"We realized we had to do something," he says. "Or we'd be subject to other problems other communities seemed to develop."

Wernick says he didn't think he'd see a black president in his lifetime, but calls it proof of the sense and stability of the times.

Minorities react to Obama?s historic victory

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