Barack Obama has been President of the United States of America for about seven months and has really made his mark. He has become a symbol for African Americans as well as Africans who want to reach at the top with hard work, determination and intelligence.
Barack Obama has never been seen throughout his career wearing baggy trousers exhibiting his underwear neither has he been in any group where negative acts were done. He grew up the way every child is supposed to grow and now he is a symbol for us all. The earlier African Americans and especially our own young boys and men in Africa try to be presentable, the better it would be for all of them.
Many times it has been said, Barack Obama comes from humble roots: an absent father, being raised by his grandparents in Hawaii. He excelled and achieved all the way to Harvard. His rise, the result of a supportive extended family, and a fierce intellect, is inspirational enough.
The span of his life from childhood to the present, offer a glimpse into the world of this man who is now the 44th president. The life of his childhood is absolutely endearing, and show what a diverse world Obama came from.
As Barack grew up, the man that we see today started to take shape; out of college, this gangly community organizer met his future wife Michelle Obama, and a glimpse into their love and their relationship.
Barack Obama after a very successful stint in Harvard University, became a very successful lawyer in Chicago where eventually he became a Senator. Obama who wrote ‘The audacity of hope’ became the very first African American to run for US president and eventually won the race.
There has been lots of biography written about Obama, because he grew up as a gentleman; has been living a life worth emulating and is now a symbol for all of us who want our children especially the boys to grow in that way.
Barack junior I will refer to him grew up herding his father’s goats and attending a local school where he showed great promise. He won a scholarship to attend a University in U.S. at the age of 23. He arrived at the University of Hawaii as the institution’s first African student.
During his spell studying Russian, he met a shy, but one of the most beautiful African American ladies called Michelle and they were madly in love. Obama’s father was black and his mother white as milk and they also liked their son’s new lover.
In 1960, Barack senior married Ann Dunham, the interbreeding of races was still described as a felony in more than half of the states in America.
In the sophisticated northern cities, the hostile stares and whispers might have driven a woman like Ann into a back alley abortion because she was married to a black man.
Well Obama Snr. won a scholarship to pursue his PhD at Harvard, but he didn’t have the money to take his family with him. This was the time the separation occurred and Barack Snr returned to Africa, where he later died when Barack Jnr. was 21 years old.
Obama was around six years when his mother married for the second time to an Indonesian man called Lolo and they moved to Indonesia. Her mother did everything to give him a good education and taught him to disdain the blend of ignorance and arrogance that too often characterized Americans living abroad.
She seized every chance she got with or without money to send her son to Jakarta’s International School and also made sure her son got lessons through US correspondence courses.
Ann was very determined to see her son successful as she force-fed him during breakfast and taught him English three hours daily before they left for work and school respectively. Even when Barack tried to resist, her mother would patiently defend her routine and her son would give up.
During his high school years, they returned to Hawaii after his mother split up with Lolo. Back in Hawaii she became worried and took extra care not to let her son follow the negative trail of some of the young black boys that were around. She made sure that Obama’s grandparents were in touch and she did everything to keep him on the right track.
Because his grandpa never went to college, this was the challenge facing the family that Barack should not end up as his grandpa as a furniture salesman. They were constantly on his back to continue his education and somebody that they would be proud of him.
Obama eventually graduated without mishap and was accepted into several respectable schools, and settled for Occidental College in Los Angeles. One thing that would have dented his career was the thought of being a black, but through one of his friends Frank, he was able to put aside race and concentrate on his studies.
Because many African Americans were moving the opposite direction, Barack Obama chose his friends carefully from the politically active black students, the Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets. During this period was the time when the late Ronald Reagan was heading for the White House in 1979.
In College, he had enough black students on campus for them to move as a tribe. Generally, however, their worries seemed indistinguishable from those of the white kids around them. Surviving classes, finding a well paying job after graduation became their priorities.
One thing that changed Obama’s life for the better was when he started campaigning against apartheid in South Africa and noticed that people were listening to his opinions. It was a discovery that made him hungry for words. At one time he made a speech introducing an anti-apartheid rally.
He told them about a struggle going on in another world and he said it’s happening an ocean away. A struggle that demands they choose sides. Not between black and white; not between rich and poor, but a choice between dignity and servitude,’ and there was loud applause for such a wonderful speech. Between fairness and injustice, between commitment and indifference, a choice between right and wrong has to be made. . .’
He had a lady called Regina who was supporting him and they both succeeded in putting their message across in the university in forms of acting and street theatre.
Barack Obama ended in Harvard where he was outstanding and became a successful lawyer in Chicago. He came to the political limelight in the year 2000 when he made a speech during the Democratic Campaign and from then on he started the ascension until three years ago when his name started coming up as a Democratic candidate.
Obama’s oratory skills were enough to push him to where he is now. Fulfilling the dream of the late Martin Luther King, through peace and sheer determination, an African American is now in the highest office in the United States and blacks and whites children playing together, going to school together, the dream has been achieved just as Martin Luther King wanted it to be peacefully.
“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ringwhen we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s childrenblack men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholicswill be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Martin Luther King.
History has been re-written and I hope that with his strides to build a better world through peace will someday be achieved whether we are Muslims or Christians, Jews or Arabs, black or white, we all will someday sit together to enjoy the peaceful co-existence that God created us all for.
With Austin Thomas