Barack Obama led his campaign as if a post-racial era had already arrived, seldom speaking of race until the Reverend Wright scandal broke - his own pastor was revealed making anti-white and and anti-American statements.
This pushed the candidate to address the issue head-on, saying, "I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race, and every hue.... Scattered across three continents. And for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country is my story even possible."
Obama expressed hope, but also caution. Martin Luther King III, son of the famous civil rights leader, pointed out that in some states, very few white voters chose Obama.
Other Black Americans still face an uphill battle - a poverty rate double that of the general population, and 1 in 15 black adult men behind bars.
For now, commentators in the US agree on one thing: Barack Obama's election has pushed race to the forefront.