Historical marker outside Old State Capitol building commemorates Obama's presidential announcement

There is a new historical marker outside the Old State Capitol building.

It was on a cold morning in February 2007 that Barack Obama announced his presidential campaign from the building's front lawn.

When he spoke that frigid day, Obama remembered his time in Springfield, where he served three terms in the Illinois Senate.

"It was here, in Springfield, where North, South, East and West come together that I was reminded of the essential decency of the American people — where I came to believe that through this decency, we can build a more hopeful America," Obama said on the Capitol lawn in blustery 10-degree weather.

 "And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America."

Obama returned to the Old State Capitol in August of 2008 to introduce then Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate.

While the weather was a bit better Wednesday, lawmakers gathered inside the warm chambers to dedicate the marker to America's first Black president.


"This is a very emotional moment for me because I remember standing outside with my children, and thinking all things are possible," said Illinois state Sen. Doris Turner.

Chicago, of course, is where Obama launched his political career and chose to build the Obama Presidential Center. Ground was broken for the center in the South Side’s Jackson Park neighborhood in September 2021.

"He launched what many of us believed was generational change. He inspired all of us to believe in hope again. He inspired all of us to believe that change was coming," added Chris Welch, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives. 

Obama served as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2005 in Illinois' 13th senate district.    

The district represented Chicago South Side neighborhoods.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.