Monday, February 21, 2011

Today is President’s Day in the USA. It is named that way to recognize two former presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, who happened to have birthdays in February.

This month is also designated as African American History Month and on this blog I have been writing about some famous people who contributed to Black History.

It just occurred to me that it would be appropriate to write about President Barack Obama on President’s Day in African American History Month.

He is, after all, the first person of African descent to become a President of the USA. Yes, I know that there have been some rumors that there may have been former presidents who had African blood in their lineage but he is the first one who is openly acknowledged to being fathered by an African parent and his complexion leaves no confusion there.

Most of you know his story –

Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, he graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

Barack Obama served in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid against a Democratic incumbent for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004. Several events brought him to national attention during the campaign, including his victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary and his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won election to the U.S. Senate in November 2004. His presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries he won his party's nomination. In the 2008 general election he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.

He and his wife, Michelle, were married on October 3, 1992. Their first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), on June 10, 2001.


When the outcome of the U.S. election was announced I received an e-mail that showed the front page of the newspapers of every state in the Union. All of them were hopeful and jubilant. Included in that message were also the front pages of newspapers from around the entire world. They all expressed joy at the election of Barack Obama.

President Obama has a multicultural background and is also very intelligent. In the days following his inauguration some of his first actions were to reach out to the opposing political party and he also reached out to leaders of many countries, cultures and faiths around the world.

This did not go unnoticed and I believe that this interaction along with the many visits from world leaders and his visible presence and rapport in many countries are directly responsible for his receiving the honor of Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.

There are some moments in our lives where we have an "I was there" moment. A moment that despite your best attempts to explain how you felt you can't convey how remarkable an experience it was that you just shared. I had that moment personally, on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 along with many others when President Barack Obama was the guest speaker at the 100th anniversary convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in New York City.

I was there.

As he spoke that evening his remarks embodied an understanding that we've made progress but we have more mountains to climb. They also reminded us that we have to dream higher and obtain more, which he so beautifully stated by saying, "our children can't all aspire to be LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers -- doctors and teachers -- not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court Justice. I want them aspiring to be the President of the United States of America."

Many of us in attendance remembered moments that we had taken part in that included marching, protesting, sitting in and standing tall- that night we all shared in this once in a lifetime moment - we were listening to the first African-American president who was in the house, and also living in the White House.

We had the good fortune to be sitting in the front row and were just a few feet from the President as he gave his speech. So, for generations to come, we are able to tell our children and grandchildren that we were there.

We believe that unbelievable things can happen - we have witnessed it!

Happy President's Day to President Barack Obama and to those who went before him.


Beatrice Dewberry said...

Thanks for your reflections! - Bea

troutbirder said...

Indeed! Thanks.