This is absolutely incredible to me.
As the article excerpted below notes, North Carolina has long had a well-deserved reputation as "one of the more moderate states in the South on race issues," but let's face it, that's a pretty weak statement; major elections were turning on the exploitation of racial issues in North Carolina well into the 1980s and 1990s.
It's about like saying that apartheid South Africa, back in its day, had one of the better human rights records compared to other countries in Africa; it's absolutely true, but it's true only because things were so unimaginably awful elsewhere.
At any rate... check out how far we've come in 50 years.
Obama Turns Tide in NC (News and Observer, 6 November 2008)As part of the Old Confederacy, North Carolina had a legacy of slavery and segregation. But it has been regarded since the 1940s as one of the most moderate states in the South on race issues. And it is a state that has undergone rapid Sunbelt growth in recent decades, with millions of new residents moving here from around the country.In the unofficial returns, Obama led Republican John McCain by 13,746 votes. Gary Bartlett, the state elections director, said Obama should be considered the unofficial victor. Bartlett said an estimated 40,000 provisional ballots still must be counted, but based on experience, the outcome is not likely to change when the State Board of Elections certifies the results on Nov. 25.
[...]Henry Frye, a 76-year-old Greensboro lawyer, was the first black elected to North Carolina's state legislature in the 20th century and later became chief justice of the state Supreme Court.In 1956, as an Air Force captain who had been admitted to UNC's law school, Frye tried to register to vote in his home, Richmond County. He was required to name five signers of the Declaration of Independence and the 12th president of the United States. When he failed, he was not allowed to register. Like Chambers, he did not expect to see a black president in his lifetime.He said Obama's strength in North Carolina was the result of the nation's problems."The right circumstances have to come together," Frye said. "The thing that may have pushed it over the top is the terrible economic news we've had over the last month or so."But beyond that, the most significant thing is that North Carolina can vote and will vote for a minority."By Wednesday afternoon, Obama had won 2,123,332 votes in North Carolina to McCain's 2,109,586.
Update: AP "officially" calls NC for Obama.