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.





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Comments 38 comments

David Henry 7 years ago

Very well written James! I enjoyed the article on Obama. That is good! There was only a couple of typos. Nothing major. Keep on writing. I will find time to read the other articles later.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Good article. You could also mention the role that African-American athletes who followed Jack Johnson like Paul Robeson, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Arthur Ashe, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Michael Jordan and, of course, Tiger Woods played in implanting in American minds the seed that blacks can succeed in this country when given the chance. Actors, entertainers and individuals like General Powell also helped pave the way for Obama's success this year.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America Author

Hi Ralph, good sugestions.  The HUB was originally five pages long but I wanted to cut it to focus on a few major milestones. Not that the ones you mentioned were not major.

Thanks for the comments.


tomdhum profile image

tomdhum 7 years ago from memphis tn

read your hub good advice to all never forget where you come from.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America Author

good advice tomdhum. Thanks for the comment.


T_Augustus profile image

T_Augustus 6 years ago from Detroit, MI

Nice hub jxb - very informative. Ralph, great addendum. Keep up the good work!


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 6 years ago from United States of America Author

T_Augustus - thanks for stopping by and commenting.


christalluna1124 profile image

christalluna1124 6 years ago from Dallas Texas

Excellent article James,

Very informative and educational. I applaud President Obama for his compassion, intelligence and being a man of true honor and integrity. I will be spending a lot of time on your site so keep up the excellent job. I will share this article with my son this afternoon.

warmest regards,

Christal


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 6 years ago from United States of America Author

christalluna1124 - thanks for stopping by and commenting. I pray that your son will get a lot of positiveness out of th article. I like your bio - very impressive. God bless!


NickSimpson profile image

NickSimpson 6 years ago from Jacksonville, Illinois

Barrack was working out of the same office I worked in downtown Springfield, Il many years ago. I was working a computer job on the second floor of the building his office was located in on the 6ht floor. I only actually saw him in the building once. I know that there were many that said he was positioning himself to become the president then, I laughed them all off. But they turned out to be absolutely right.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 6 years ago from United States of America Author

NickSimpson - I think I would have laughed it off too. I mean really, it is every senators dream to become president of the USA! Who would thought it would be Obama!!!


=]x 6 years ago

Yooou Goot Soome Greaat Artical'There

And Barack Ombama Diiid Deserve Tuu Bee The President Of United Statez Of Amercaai'x=]


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 6 years ago from United States of America Author

=]x - my apologies for the late response. Thanks for the kind comment.


geegee77 profile image

geegee77 6 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your hub, very well written and I agree with everything you said, Great Hub I look forward to reading more:) ge


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 6 years ago from United States of America Author

geegee77 - thanks for stopping by. I am humbled that you enjoyed the hub.


acanderson24 profile image

acanderson24 5 years ago

Very nice article....


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

acanderson24 - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Be blessed!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Good story, but BHO is not African American. He's white. The race of a baby is determined by the race of the mother. His momma was born in Kansas of white parents who were also born in Kansas, and were white.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

Hello nicomp - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Obama's race is determined by the early 20th century term 'hypodescent' which suggests that any American with one drop of black blood is considered African American, or black. This rule is commonly known as the 'one drop rule'. Believe it or not this rule became the law of the land in Virginia under the 'racial integrity act' of 1924. Similar laws were passed by congress throughout the United States during the same period - most are still in effect today.

Therefore, although Obama's mother was white, his father was black and because he was born in America under the 'one rule' law, his racial identity is black.

If Obama looked white he would be classified as being white based on appearance only however, according to the law his racial identity would be black - or African American. A similar law applied to whites with Native American blood. If they had native blood they were considered Native Americans. These foolish laws were an effort to maintain the 'purity' of the white race.

The racial identity based on the mother was an effort to ensure that white children of mixed race parents, where the mother was White could maintain their 'white priviledges' during the latter stages of 'Jim Crow' and into the early stages of school desegregation - and for census reporting when the child lived in the white household. However, this never became law and it was based in part on whether the child looked White.

This does not apply to Obama as he look black and per the 'one rule law', in conjunction to his fathers native land - he is dinitely an African American

Hey, I don't make the rules - such as they are - but I do sometimes follow them :)

Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Interesting, but if those laws are still in effect, then maternity wards across the US violate them. The race of the Mother becomes the race noted on the birth certificate.

It's a shame that we still have to parse this stuff. He won because he got the most votes, as I'm sure you agree.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

I totally agree and in my personal opinion he's just another politician and his race has more to do with historical purposes and little to do with whether he's going to be a good president or not. All the media discussions about his race belittle's his white mothers' contribution to his education and upbringing. After all, his black father was absent in all this and it was his white mother who basically raised him and made him the man he is today.


Thembile Novelithi 5 years ago

Obama is one of the greatest to such a high profile job, I haleluya him.

Please can you tell me about strategy did he use to become the president.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

Thembile Novelithi - thsnks for stopping by. One of his main strategy was to utilize current technology to reach the young people where they were, and to assemble a staff of confident, and competent people.


electricsky profile image

electricsky 5 years ago from North Georgia

Good hub even two years later.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

electricsky - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


LastDays 5 years ago

Barrack isn't an African American. I doubt that they would ever let that happen. Why do you think he is hiding his birth information? It's not just because he wasn't born in this country. I suspect that his dad is Filipino and not the African guy. Either way, he's not the descendant of American slavery, thus he isn't African American in that sense.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

LastDays - my apology for the late response. I think he is American and his recently revealed birth certificate seems to back his statements of citizenship. Apparently that's not enough for some people therefore they're going after his college records....what's next!? I am not certain what you mean by the comment "I doubt that they would ever let that happen." If you're referring to white americans then not only did they let it happen but they made it happen. They're the one who put him in office. Thanks for the candid comments.


Powerpoe1 profile image

Powerpoe1 5 years ago

Great hub!....Yes, fast forwarding back to the 13th Ammendent "The abolishment of slavery". This is the number one reason why I do not believe in the number 13 as being unlucky. The number 13 holds power and dominion!


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

Powerpoe1 - I aree, the 13th Admendment was not only a lucky number but a blessed number for African Americans and the nation as a whole. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read the article.


James E. profile image

James E. 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

Great insight! I enjoyed the article and even your educated and common sense responses. Talking about something in the social/political side can become heated very fast. I always enjoy reading level-headed debates/discussions!


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

James E - thanks for stopping by and leaving words of encouragement.


Nick 5 years ago

Great essay James! I am writing a chapter for a forthcoming edited volume that I think you will find interesting, Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Politicians. My essay-chapter will deal with Blanche Kelso Bruce, and I do connect the election of President Obama, and African Americans in Congress, to the the precedent and foundation provided by the visionary black Resconstruction leaders.

Truly,

Nicholas Patler


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 5 years ago from United States of America Author

Hi Nick - thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am humbled that you enjoyed the article. I am looking forward to reading your edited volume. Please let me know when its available. My email address is jxb7076@gmail.com


bella245 4 years ago

hi ralph,

its nice to see that u care about obama because i know know one else does!!!


pramodgokhale profile image

pramodgokhale 4 years ago from Pune( India)

First we congratulate Prez, barrack Obama to reach paramount which no one predicted and Afro-American became president of America. He is facing challenges and economical and political,China's threat is looming large on horizon and rebuilding of American economy and bring back her glory is a difficult job.i think innovative and inventive American would do the job.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 4 years ago from United States of America Author

pramodgokhale - thsnkd for the candid comments. Because of global trade I believe America will progress only to the exctent of the progress of other countries. President Obama will probably need more than four years for his economic policies to work. Any potential president will be fooling themselves if they think they can turn things around in four years. I believe President Obama found that out the hard way.


Wedi Raya Rayuma 3 years ago

Well written!


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 3 years ago from United States of America Author

@ Wedi Raya: Thanks

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