In what seems like a wake-up call or determination not to repeat past mistake, many black voters who couldn’t be moved in 2016, have surprisingly stepped out in their numbers to participate in the 2020 US elections and cast their votes.

Two young, black first-time voters were sure they had made history. “I just changed the world by voting,” said the 19-year-old man, smiling as he leant out of the car he was driving.

“When Trump was elected, my generation weren’t old enough,” said a young woman in a dark sweatshirt, as she came out of the school where she had cast her ballot. “But we can change the election because we don’t need another four years of this.”

We were in west Philadelphia, where last week police shot dead Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old black man with mental health problems who had been waving a knife on the street outside his house.

One reason Donald Trump won the US presidency in 2016 was that black voters did not turn out for Hillary Clinton as they had done for Barack Obama.

Philadelphia was no exception. Trump won the normally Democratic state by 44,000 votes, just 0.72 per cent of the total. This time, black voters appear to have shown up for Joe Biden. Pennsylvania is seen as the path to the White House for both candidates.

It has 20 electoral college votes, a number that could prove decisive. Voters in the rural areas, where fields are being harvested, tend to be Republican while the cities are Democrat. In 2016 the suburbs swung for Trump. Polling suggests that this time, suburban voters, especially women, have deserted him.