How Barack Obama Became the First African American President of The US
The Untold Story
Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. This is a remarkable accomplishment for any person – to become leader of the most powerful nation in the world. It’s even more of an accomplishment for a young Black man to be elected to such a position of power. We saw this being accomplished through an excellent, tightly ran campaign using the energy of both young and older Americans. We saw the adequate use of the latest technology. We saw grass roots fund raising and organizational management. We saw people of all races, religions, and nationalities working day and night to secure a victory, and a place in history for a candidate they believed in.
But how did Barack Obama really become the first African American President of the United States of America? To answer this question we need to go backwards in time to 1830 and the beginning of a movement where attempts are being implemented to abolish slavery and achieve immediate emancipation. A movement fought from 1830 – 1870 known as the Abolitionist Movement. This was the first movement designed to help Barack Obama become the first African American President of the United States of America, although Barack Obama himself would not be born until generations later.Let’s fast forward to 1863 where we see President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation making it the law of the land. This put Barack Obama even closer to the presidency, although again, he would not be born until a generation later. Let’s now take a left turn towards the white house where we see the signing of the 13th amendment to the US Constitution abolishing slavery in all the states and by the end of the Civil War we are now on the path to the Reconstruction era from 1865 to 1877. Here we see a man named George White of North Carolina, the last Black man to have been born a slave serving in the United States Congress. Here we see another open door for Barack Obama to become the first African American president of the United States of America.
Let’s fast forward to 1908 when Jack Johnson dominated boxing as the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1908-1915….another period of American success which brought Barack Obama closer to the presidency. We’ll skip a few more great events in American history such as the creation of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, or George Washington Carver’s discovery of the multiple uses of a single crop known as the peanut, or the acceptance of blacks in the professional field of American sports. Having acknowledged these great events let’s now fast forward to 1954 to a town with a population of 585,000 called Little Rock Arkansas and the Brown-vs.-Board of Education. A decision handed down by the US Supreme Court which became the pivotal point for school desegregation across the nation. Among all other events awarding Barack Obama the opportunity to become the first African American President of the United States of America this was perhaps the most important as it began a generation of racial tolerance and acceptance in education, allowing both Black and White Americans to get to know each other on a more personal level.
Now, let’s skip a few more important moments like the desegregation of the US Armed forces and the successes of the black soldier in battle and in aviation such as the Tuskegee Airmen and let’s go to1963 to the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is giving his infamous “I have a Dream” speech. Let’s now follow Dr. King back to Selma Alabama and witness an intense meeting at a round table where the contents of the Voting Rights Act is being discussed and finalized. Now we’ll follow Dr. King back to Washington DC and witness this Act become a bill signed into law by President Johnson. These historical events in American history paved the road for Barack Obama to become the first African American President of the United States of America, although by now he was just a kid living in Hawaii.
Now, while we’re in this period of American pride let’s not forget what almost brought this progress to a virtual stand still. Events like the rise of the Klu Klux Klans in the south and subsequent assignations of the Kennedy’s, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and Medger Evers. How about the election of unethical men to high government offices like Bull Connors and Governor Wallace. The list goes on to include men like David Duke and his run as a Democrat for the Louisiana Senate in 1975. These dark periods of American History almost ended any chance Barack Obama may have had at becoming the first African American President of the United States of America. What if his grand parents were affected by the status quo of race relations and were so bigoted as to turn their backs on him, or what if the South had won the civil war then Barack Obama would have missed another great opportunity to become the first African American President of the United States of America, although he was merely a little boy at the time.
Black and White Americans above the age of 50 can be proud of how far we’ve come in race relations by which all Americans can now benefit. We can be proud that we taught our kids well in the area of racial tolerance and that we believed in the teachings of Dr. King and applied at least one of his messages which is “judge not by the color of the skin but by the content of the character.” However, it is our kids who practiced this creed because people above the age of 50 who were born in America are still struggling with this concept. This is why middle aged Americans make comments like “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime.” Well, thank God it’s no longer our time because the motto of the young people is, “why not my time” --- and their time it was, supported by the US Constitution and its 27 amendments. The United States Constitution is a living document which is consistently being amended to pave the way for many firsts in America. The US Constitution is a living document which allows opportunities for the first Hispanic American to become President of the United States of America, or the first Asian American to become President, or the first Japanese American, or the first German American to become President.
As we move forward in anticipation of a Barack Obama Administration let’s not forget the struggles of Americans before us who paved the way for all Americans to benefit from such a historical election. Let’s not forget the American wars fought both internally and externally for freedoms. Let’s not forget the John McCain’s who suffered so the Barack Obama’s can live in a world of peace and run for the highest office in the land. Let's not forget the Civil Rights Movement, The Women's Sufferage Movement, THe American Civil War, and other battles for social justice. We’ve come a long way but there are still some in America who’s clocks and calendars have not been updated. This recent election proved that they are now the new minorities.
Whether you voted for Barack Obama or not lets celebrate his victory as it is a reflection of the true America. Not the America we’ve been living in for the past eight years but the America we’ve been building for the past 400 + years. Barack Obama’s election to the highest office in the land has renewed America’s status of a graceful, caring, and democratic nation in the eyes of the world. His victory alone has done more to lift the American spirit than anything we’ve seen in the last 12 years and he’s not even in the oval office yet. His victory was without major conflict and the voting numbers gave him a clear win without any doubt or recounting. The world saw a clean and fair election process which Americans can be proud of. Once again the world is looking inwards to America for strength and leadership.
The challenges of our past has given Americans the opportunity to once again call on what has made us a great nation and a model of democracy in a world desperately looking for global leadership. There is a lot at stake and the burden is on us in the eyes of the world to help make this administration a success by challenging it when it’s wrong and supporting it when it’s right. We need to ensure it’s a government of the people and by the people.
So, how did Barack Obama become the first African American President of the United States of America? The answer….timing! The source….The US Constitution. The path….American History.