Loop 21’s Look at the Obama Presidency
7 months ago
Loop 21 looks at the impact of the history-making leader of the free world
At first, black folks were skeptical. Who was this upstart Senator from the State of Illinois throwing his hat into the ring for the presidency of the United States?
It was not only that his youth and relative inexperience on the national stage seemed to pale in comparison with the political gravitas of then-U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady and matriarch of the Democratic powerhouse family that blacks had long given their trust and electoral support.
Barack Obama was a black man, and, after five centuries of political, economic and overall racial oppression, black folks had long ago learned to look askance at blacks’ aspirations to become leader of the free world. Black candidates were more for making statements, not history.
And then, Barack Hussein Obama, the black man with the even blacker name, beat Clinton in Iowa’s Democratic primary. Iowa, one of the whitest states in the union. Black folks – and everyone else – began to see what would eventually come to pass: Barack Obama was presidential material.
Millions of Americans – along with people around the world – rejoiced when Obama made history four years ago by becoming the nation’s first black president.
For African Americans, Obama’s election was especially poignant. The election seemed to finally put an end to the constitutional notion that blacks were only three fifths a person. It seemed as if for the first time in the nation’s history, blacks were finally being fully accepted into the fold. The power of the moment resonates to this day, with little black boys dressing up in suits to become Obama for Halloween and black youth feeling empowered enough to wear a copy of the presidential seal on the backs of their bomber jackets.