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Bill Cosby’s Lawyers Just Pulled The Race Card He Never Seemed To Believe In

Bill Cosby.

“The campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion.” As Bill Cosby nears a potentially messy, public trial regarding his alleged sexual assault, his legal team is trying a controversial new tactic.  Cosby’s lawyers have claimed that racism is the reason their client has been the target of numerous rape and sexual assault allegations.

On Tuesday, at a Philadelphia court hearing regarding a 2004 incident in which Cosby allegedly assaulted former Temple University employee Andrea Constand, the presiding judge announced plans to begin a jury trial by June 2017. 

After the hearing, Cosby’s legal team spoke out about apparent “racial bias and prejudice” against their client outside of the courthouse.

“Mr. Cosby is no stranger to discrimination and racial hatred, and throughout his career Mr. Cosby has always used his voice and his celebrity to highlight the commonalities and has portrayed the differences that are not negative, no matter the race, gender and religion of a person,” lawyer Brian McMonagle said in a statement to reporters. 

McMonagle said that Cosby’s civil rights have been trampled on, and specifically targeted high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents nearly half the women who will potentially testify against Cosby. 

“[Allred] calls herself a civil rights attorney, but her campaign against Mr. Cosby builds on racial bias and prejudice that can pollute the court of public opinion,” McMonagle said.

He also called out the media for its coverage of Allred and her clients’ accusations of Cosby, saying that reporting on the allegations simply perpetuates the racial bias.

“And when the media repeats her accusations — with no evidence, no trial and no jury — we are moved backwards as a country and away from the America that our civil rights leaders sacrificed so much to create,” he said.

Though some black celebrities who support Cosby like Eddie Griffin have dismissed the rape allegations against him as a racist conspiracy to tarnish his legacy, this is the first time that Cosby’s legal team have explicitly brought race into the discussion regarding the accusations against him.

In the past, Cosby has dismissed racism as a reason for the disadvantages some black people face. 

Though he has served as an icon of the black community thanks to his comedy work and his groundbreaking career on TV via “I Spy” and “The Cosby Show,” he’s also been accused of engaging in the worst of respectability politics. He’s suggested that black people should stop blaming injustices and disadvantages on racism, and has especially targeted poor black people. 

In an infamous NAACP speech in 2004 known as the “Pound Cake Speech” he said:

“These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake. Then we all run out and are outraged: ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?” 

In a statement obtained by ABC, Gloria Allred described Brian McMonagle’s comments on his client as “desperate.” 

“He complains about racial bias but what about the African American women whom I represent who accuse him of sexual assault or rape and who refuse to remain silent about what they say they have suffered?” Allred said.

At Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutors petitioned to have 13 women who have made previous accusations against Cosby testify in his upcoming trial. Of those 13 women, 12 are white, may have been a factor in a new racial argument from Cosby’s defense.   

“I think they deserve a voice and I am proud to represent them,” Allred added in her statement. “This is not an issue of racial bias. Instead, it is an issue of whether or not Mr. Cosby has committed acts of gender sexual violence.”

It remains to be seen whether the claims of racial bias will be used in Cosby’s actual courtroom defense, but the introduction of race into the discussion by his own legal team marks a significant shift in the conversation about his pending trial.

There’s no denying that white men in Hollywood like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have faced far less public scrutiny and have kept their legacies largely intact in the wake of horrific sexual assault claims. The question is: does that make the accusations against Cosby, a black man, any less valid? 

In the court of public opinion, Cosby is pretty much guilty in the eyes of many of those who’ve followed this story. It remains to be seen whether race will have any impact on the outcome of the trial. 




Black Millennials: Don’t Help Donald Trump

OK, in the ’90s, the Clintons backed some bad things. But they backed some good things. Whatever. The ’90s aren’t what matters. The future is. With the election less than two months away, there still remains plenty of cause for concern regarding the black vote and Hillary Clinton. Clinton and the Democrats inevitably were going to win the lion’s share of the black vote, but that has never been enough. Clinton needs to win a share of the black vote similar to Barack Obama’s to ensure that the Democrats retain the White House. And black voters need to flex their electoral might to show that 2008 and 2012 were not flukes buoyed by America’s first black president. Presently, neither seem foregone conclusions, and the majority of the uncertainty resides with young black voters.

A recent report by The New York Times describes the frustrations of many young black voters in two vital swing states—Ohio and Florida—regarding this election, and their bewildering reluctance to support Clinton.

“He’s a racist, and she is a liar, so really what’s the difference in choosing both or choosing neither,” said a young black woman from Ohio, who participated in the Times’ focus group.

“She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” said a young black man in the focus group.

Additionally, only 70 percent of African Americans under 35 in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia plan on voting for Clinton—8 percent plan on voting for Trump, and 18 percent are undecided or backing another candidate. In 2012, Obama won 92 percent of black voters under 45 nationally.

As a young black voter myself I’ve heard countless reasons why black millennials may not want to vote for Clinton this year. While each argument may consist of some valid points, on average they display a myopic naïveté that undermines the progress they intend to forge and projects some of the less desirable narratives attributed to millennials.

I’ve spoken to older African Americans too, and many remain perplexed by the willful disenfranchisement expressed by this younger generation. Also, this generation’s fixation on the Clintons of the 1990s—with an emphasis on their faults and not their successes—instead of the Clintons of today remains baffling to the older generation.

African Americans do not condone Hillary’s “super predators” comment from 1996; nor do they embrace Bill’s tough on crime policies, which were an extension of the policing measures of the two previous presidential administrations. Yet America was far less racially progressive in the 1990s than it is today.

And besides, the Clintons’ policies on racial questions didn’t begin and end with crime. They actively sought the black vote, welcomed the opinions of African Americans, and hired African Americans for administration and cabinet positions at rates that were previously unheard of. He defended and saved affirmative action at a moment when it was on death row. It’s disingenuous of people to forget all these good things.

Additionally, older African Americans remember how Bill Clinton won traditionally Republican states such as Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky on his way to the White House in 1992. The Clintons dismantled Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, which hinged on stoking the racial animus of white Americans to win Southern states and secure the presidency for Republicans. That’s a big part of why the GOP became hell bent on destroying the Clintons.

And while they failed at that, they succeeded at defeating Al Gore, his chosen successor, and facilitating racial divisions. The parallels between unprecedented Republican attacks on Bill Clinton’s and Obama’s presidencies due to their ability to create radical electoral shifts by engaging and enfranchising African Americans should be obvious for anyone who reexamines the 1990s.

Yet irrationally, some young black voters have instead chosen to fixate on the mistakes of the Clintons, and parrot the disparaging conservative rhetoric of the 1990s regarding them. And in doing so, black millennials may be contributing to creating another improbable window for a divisive Republican candidate to claim the presidency.

In addition to a bizarre mis-recollection of the 1990s, these black millennials also exude a desire for perfection and a reluctance to settling. Since neither candidate is perfect in their eyes, they say they are now forced to chosen between the lesser of two evils, and they argue that there is an inherent injustice in being forced into this situation. Plenty of young white millennials who supported Bernie Sanders expressed similar sentiments.

But this amounts to willful disenfranchisement. Willfully disengaging or voting for a third party candidate who more closely embodies their idea of perfection seems an adequate recourse for some young black voters instead of settling for one of the two major candidates. Yet the collective impact of this action will only result in stunting the progress black millennials hope to achieve.

The increased weight of black voices in American society does not stem from a national, progressive moral epiphany or even the presence of the Obamas in the White House. Our louder voice exists now because African Americans voted at unprecedented rates for two consecutive presidential elections, and our enhanced electoral voice forced America to listen to us. In 2012, 66 percent of eligible African American voters voted, surpassing the percentage of white voters—for the first time in history—by 2 percent. In 2008, 65 percent voted.

The young black voters who remain reluctant to vote for Clinton assume that our societal influence has become the new norm. They have remained focused on striving to improve American society and simultaneously oblivious to the profound threat posed by a Trump presidency for African Americans and other minorities. This is a privileged perspective that older African Americans struggle to comprehend.

For American society, this election is about sustaining the social progress and racial equity forged during Obama’s presidency. Trump offers only social regression. Young black voters will play a pivotal role in deciding the next president, and their misguided inclination to support apathy or willful disenfranchisement when confronted with a resurgent white nationalist movement and enflamed racial divisions may be one of the most tragic realities of this entire election.




More White Young Adults Support BLM. But There’s Still One Big Issue.

Black Lives Movement.

A new survey released Monday revealed that more young, white adults support the Black Lives Matter movement than ever before. But that advance comes with a big caveat. The GenForward survey, which was conducted by the Associated Press and the Black Youth Project amongst 1,958 adults between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14, showed that 51 percent of white adults between the ages of 18 and 30 say they support BLM, while 42 percent say they do not. 

In June, the number of white people who backed BLM stood at only 41 percent. While this is encouraging, a staggering set of statistics emerged from the same study, among them: 66 percent of young, white adults think BLM’s rhetoric encourages violence against the police. 

The survey showed that the belief was shared across racial/ethnic groups, too: 43 percent of Asian-Americans, 42 percent of Hispanics, and 19 percent of African-Americans share the opinion. 

BLM wasn’t built to incite any form of violence against police. In fact, it’s one of thedangerous misconceptions about the movement the group has sought to debunk. The movement’s larger mission is simply to demand that officers be held accountable for their actions. It is a message that has been upheld throughout dozens of protests around the country and reinforced this summer by the BLM’s co-founders.

Race helped dictate how people felt against cops and black citizens, too. According to the survey, 63 percent of young, white adults view violence against cops as a serious problem, while just 43 percent say the same of violence against black people at the hands of police. Not surprisingly, 91 percent of African Americans view cop killings of black men and women was a “very or extremely serious problem” and 72 percent say this problem plays into a larger systemic issue. (Sixty-one percent of Asian Americans, 51 percent of Latinos and only 40 percent of white people felt the same.)

Yet many BLM advocates, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, think that police brutality is instead a systemic issue in need of reform. Despite the promising changes to people’s general beliefs in the BLM movement, it’s discouraging to see on paper what we’ve really known all along: That support for the BLM movement ― and all it’s trying to do ― falls heavily along racial lines.  

Surprise, surprise. 



Black History : Our President Barack Obama: Hopes and Dreams Can Be Powerful

Barack Obama.

Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 United States presidential election.

Obama is the first African American to be nominated by a major political party for president. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil rights attorney before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After a primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70 percent of the vote.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel. Obama announced his presidential campaign in February 2007, and was formally nominated at the 2008 Democratic National Convention with Delaware senator Joe Biden as his running mate.


Barack Obama was born at the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Kenyan from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya, and Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas. His parents met while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was a foreign student. They separated when he was two years old and later divorced. Obama’s father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982. After her divorce, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Soetoro's home country of Indonesia in 1967, where Obama attended local schools in Jakarta until he was ten years old. He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from high school in 1979.Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 for several years and then back to Indonesia to complete fieldwork for her doctoral dissertation. She died of ovarian cancer in 1995. As an adult Obama admitted that during high school he used marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, which he described at the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency as his greatest moral failure.



Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations.Obama graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983, then worked for a year at the Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.

After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago, where he was hired as director of Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland (Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale) on Chicago's far South Side, and worked there for three years from June 1985 to May 1988. During his three years as the DCP's director, its staff grew from one to thirteen and its annual budget grew from $70,000 to $400,000, with accomplishments including helping set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants' rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community-organizing institute. In mid-1988, he traveled for the first time to Europe for three weeks and then for five weeks in Kenya, where he met many of his Kenyan relatives for the first time.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. At the end of his first year, he was selected, based on his grades and a writing competition, as an editor of theHarvard Law Review. In February 1990, in his second year, he was elected president of the Law Review, a full-time volunteer position functioning as editor-in-chief and supervising the Law Review's staff of eighty editors. Obama's election as the first black president of the Law Review was widely reported and followed by several long, detailed profiles. During his summers, he returned to Chicago where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he returned to Chicago.

The publicity from his election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a publishing contract and advance for a book about race relations. In an effort to recruit him to their faculty, the University of Chicago Law School provided Obama with a fellowship and an office to work on his book. He originally planned to finish the book in one year, but it took much longer as the book evolved into a personal memoir. In order to work without interruptions, Obama and his wife, Michelle, traveled to Bali where he wrote for several months. The manuscript was finally published in mid-1995 as Dreams from My Father.

Obama directed Illinois' Project Vote from April to October 1992, a voter registration drive with a staff of ten and seven hundred volunteers; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African-Americans in the state, and led to Crain's Chicago Business naming Obama to its 1993 list of "40 under Forty" powers to be.

Beginning in 1992, Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, being first classified as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and then as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.

He also, in 1993, joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.

Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993. He served from 1993 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund the Developing Communities Project, and also from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of The Joyce Foundation. Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995–2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995–1999.He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

State legislator, 1997–2004

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois' 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.

Obama was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, and again in 2002. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations. During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the US Senate.

2004 U.S. Senate campaign

In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate; he enlisted political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announced his candidacy in January 2003. Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates. Obama's candidacy was boosted by Axelrod's advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois. He received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.

Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.

In July 2004, Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. After describing his maternal grandfather's experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal's FHA and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government's economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War and highlighted America's obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America. Broadcasts of the speech by major news organizations launched Obama's status as a national political figure and boosted his campaign for U.S. Senate.

In August 2004, two months after Ryan's withdrawal and less than three months before Election Day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan. A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.

U.S. Senator, from 2005 

Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005. Obama was the fifth African American Senator in U.S. history, and the third to have been popularly elected. He is the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus. CQ Weekly, a nonpartisan publication, characterized him as a "loyal Democrat" based on analysis of all Senate votes in 2005–2007, and the National Journal ranked him as the "most liberal" senator based on an assessment of selected votes during 2007. In 2005 he was ranked sixteenth, and in 2006 he was ranked tenth. In 2008, he was ranked by as the eleventh most powerful Senator.


Senate bill sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Obama discussing the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act

Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act. Obama introduced two initiatives bearing his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, and the Coburn–Obama Transparency Act, which authorized the establishment of, a web search engine on federal spending. On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama, along with Senators Thomas R. Carper, Tom Coburn, and John McCain, introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.

Obama sponsored legislation requiring nuclear plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks. In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. In January 2007, Obama and Senator Feingold introduced a corporate jet provision to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which was signed into law in September 2007. He introduced Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections. Obama also introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.

Obama and Richard Lugar visit a Russian mobile launch missile dismantling facility

Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges. He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.


Obama held assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Veterans' Affairs through December 2006. In January 2007, he left the Environment and Public Works committee and took additional assignments with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He also became Chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on European Affairs.As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama has made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He met with Mahmoud Abbas before he became President of Palestine, and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi condemning corruption in the Kenyan government.

2008 presidential campaign


On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in 1858. Throughout the campaign, Obama has emphasized the issues of ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care, at one point identifying these as his top three priorities.

Marc PoKempner: LESSONS LEARNED Barack Obama campaigning for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, a race he easily won

Obama announcing his presidential campaign in Springfield, Illinois

Obama's campaign raised $58 million during the first half of 2007, of which "small" donations of less than $200 accounted for $16.4 million. The $58 million set the record for fundraising by a presidential campaign in the first six months of the calendar year before the election. The magnitude of the small donation portion was outstanding from both the absolute and relative perspectives. In January 2008, his campaign set another fundraising record with $36.8 million, the most ever raised in one month by a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries.

Among the January 2008 DNC-sanctioned state contests, Obama tied with Hillary Clinton for delegates in the New Hampshire primary and won more delegates than Clinton in the Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina elections and caucuses. On Super Tuesday, he emerged with 20 more delegates than Clinton. He again broke fundraising records in the first two months of 2008, raising over $90 million for his primary to Clinton's $45 million. After Super Tuesday, Obama won the eleven remaining February primaries and caucuses. Obama and Clinton split delegates and states nearly equally in the March 4 contests of Vermont, Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island; Obama closed the month by winning Wyoming and Mississippi.

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's former pastor of twenty years, Jeremiah Wright. After ABC News broadcast clips of his racially and politically charged sermons. Initially, Obama responded by defending Wright's wider role in Chicago's African American community, but condemned his remarks and ended Wright's relationship with the campaign. Obama delivered a speech, during the controversy, entitled "A More Perfect Union" that addressed issues of race. Obama subsequently resigned from Trinity United Church "to avoid the impression that he endorsed the entire range of opinions expressed at that church."

General David Petraeus gives an aerial tour of Baghdad to Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel

During April, May, and June, Obama won the North Carolina, Oregon, and Montana primaries and remained ahead in the count of pledged delegates, while Clinton won the Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota primaries. During the period, Obama received endorsements from more super delegates than did Clinton. On May 31, the Democratic National Committee agreed to seat all of the Michigan and Florida delegates at the national convention, each with a half-vote, narrowing Obama's delegate lead while increasing the delegate count needed to win. On June 3, with all states counted, Obama passed the threshold to become the presumptive nominee. On that day, he gave a victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed him on June 7. Since then, he has campaigned for the general election race against Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.


On June 19, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976, reversing his earlier intention to accept it.


On August 23, 2008, Obama selected Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Obama's former rival Hillary Clinton gave a speech in strong support of Obama's candidacy and later was the person that called for Obama to be nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate by acclamation. On August 28, Obama delivered a speech in front of 84,000 supporters in Denver and viewed by over 38 million on television. During the speech he accepted his party's nomination and presented details of his policy goals.

Political positions

The young contender and the liberal lion.

The young contender and the liberal lion...Barack Obama and Senator Ted Kennedy

Obama campaigning in Pennsylvania, October 2008

Obama was an early opponent of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq. On October 2, 2002, the day President George W. Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally in Federal Plaza, speaking out against the war. On March 16, 2003, the day President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Obama addressed an anti-Iraq War rally and told the crowd that "it's not too late" to stop the war.

Obama stated that if elected he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, stop investing in "unproven" missile defense systems, not "weaponize" space, "slow development of Future Combat Systems," and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons. Obama favors ending development of new nuclear weapons, reducing the current U.S. nuclear stockpile, enacting a global ban on production of fissile material, and seeking negotiations with Russia in order to take ICBMs off high alert status.

In November 2006, Obama called for a "phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq" and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Syria and Iran. In a March 2007 speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby, he said that the primary way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is through talks and diplomacy, although not ruling out military action.Obama has indicated that he would engage in "direct presidential diplomacy" with Iran without preconditions. Detailing his strategy for fighting global terrorism in August 2007, Obama said "it was a terrible mistake to fail to act" against a 2005 meeting of al-Qaeda leaders that U.S. intelligence had confirmed to be taking place in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said that as president he would not miss a similar opportunity, even without the support of the Pakistani government.

In a December 2005, Washington Post opinion column, and at the Save Darfur rally in April 2006, Obama called for more assertive action to oppose genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. He has divested $180,000 in personal holdings of Sudan-related stock, and has urged divestment from companies doing business in Iran. In the July–August 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, Obama called for an outward looking post-Iraq War foreign policy and the renewal of American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership in the world. Saying "we can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission," he called on Americans to "lead the world, by deed and by example."

In economic affairs, in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and opposed Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Obama spoke out against government indifference to growing economic class divisions, calling on both political parties to take action to restore the social safety net for the poor. Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign, Obama said he supports universal healthcare in the United States. Obama proposes to reward teachers for performance from traditional merit pay systems, assuring unions that changes would be pursued through the collective bargaining process.

In September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code. His plan would eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal income tax cuts for those making over $250,000 as well as the capital gains and dividends tax cut, close corporate tax loopholes, lift the income cap on Social Security taxes, restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by the IRS. Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama proposed a cap and trade auction system to restrict carbon emissions and a ten-year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. Obama proposed that all pollution credits must be auctioned, with no grandfathering of credits for oil and gas companies, and the spending of the revenue obtained on energy development and economic transition costs.

Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other religious groups. In December 2006, he joined Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" organized by church leaders Kay and Rick Warren. Together with Warren and Brownback, Obama took an HIV test, as he had done in Kenya less than four months earlier. He encouraged "others in public life to do the same" and not be ashamed of it. Before the conference, eighteen anti-abortion groups published an open letter stating, in reference to Obama's support for legal abortion: "In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway." Addressing over 8,000 United Church of Christ members in June 2007, Obama challenged "so-called leaders of the Christian Right" for being "all too eager to exploit what divides us."

A method that political scientists use for gauging ideology is to compare the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union (ACU). Based on his years in Congress, Obama has a lifetime average conservative rating of 7.67% from the ACU, and a lifetime average liberal rating of 90 percent from the ADA.

Family and personal life 

Barack Obama and wife, Michelle

Obama met his wife, Michelle Robinson, in June 1989 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.

Applying the proceeds of a book deal, the family moved in 2005 from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6 million house in neighboring Kenwood. The purchase of an adjacent lot and sale of part of it to Obama by the wife of developer and friend Tony Rezko attracted media attention because of Rezko's indictment and subsequent conviction on political corruption charges that were unrelated to Obama.

In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million. Their 2007 tax return showed a household income of $4.2 million—up from about $1 million in 2006 and $1.6 million in 2005—mostly from sales of his books.

Barack Obama playing basketball with U.S. military in Djibouti 2006

In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family. "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations," he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." Obama has seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father's family, six of them living, and a half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband. Obama's mother is survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham. In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother's family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team. Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking.

Obama is a Christian whose religious views have evolved in his adult life. In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as "non-practicing Methodists and Baptists") to be detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim", but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." In the book, Obama explains how, through working with black churches as a community organizer while in his twenties, he came to understand "the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change."

Cultural and political image

With his Kenyan father and white American mother, his upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta, and his Ivy League education, Obama's early life experiences differ markedly from those of African American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough," Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the debate is not about his physical appearance or his record on issues of concern to black voters. Obama said "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."

Echoing the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, Obama acknowledged his youthful image in an October 2007 campaign speech, saying: "I wouldn't be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation."

In March 2007, Global Language Monitor added "Obama" to its English lexicon based on the use of Obama- as a root for neologisms such as: obamamentum, obamaBot, obamacize, obamarama, obamaNation, obamanomics, obamican, obamafy, obamamania, and obamacam.

Many commentators mentioned Obama's international appeal as a defining factor for his public image. Not only did several polls show strong support for him in other countries, but Obama also established close relationships with prominent foreign politicians and elected officials even before his presidential candidacy, notably with former British Prime minister Tony Blair, whom he met in London in 2005, with Italy's Democratic Party leader Walter Veltroni, who visited Obama's Senate office in 2005, and with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also visited him in Washington in 2006.

Barack Obama elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008

moment: President Obama is sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts with the new first family and Vice President Biden, right, nearby. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who headed the joint congressional inaugural committee, is to the right of Michelle Obama.


President Barack Obama 2009

       Yes We Can!

Election 2012





"Low aim, not failure, is a sin."Dr. Benjamin Mays

"Prepare, Pursue, Perform, and Prevail."- Dr. Benjamin Mays

"We do not have to be victims of circumstance." - Kweisi Mfume

"Our past choices are what have brought us our Today. Today's choices are what will bring us our Tomorrows"

- Dr. Ben Carson

" Give Back....A fist which is too tight for anything to get out  is too tight for anything to come in ."

  L. E. Lewis

Disclaimer: does not imply ownership of or creative rights for the artwork, illustrations and photography in the exhibit “Hopes & Dreams Can Be Powerful Things.”


Thank you for visiting  Also see:

Black History Pt 1:  395 Years of "Yes We Can" (1619-2014) 

Black History Pt. 2 : Our President Barack Obama

Black History Pt 3: Our Journey Continues

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Black History : Photo Essay (3 Parts)

As the debate continues about the need for Black History Month, presents our Photo Essay representing more than 390 years of " Yes We Can". This is a 3 part series and we invite your comments:

Much like Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama is a man for all people. He is humble yet confident; he is gracious yet firm; and he is a peacemaker in every situation. People from every continent love him.

He has been called a cultural icon, bringing hope where there is none. His election to the highest office in the world is a historic achievement that many of us thought would never happen. Thousands of martyrs have sacrificed, marched, protested, fought and died for equal rights in America, paving the way for anyone daring to push the limits of success.

The journey has been long for Barack, and even longer for BlackAmericans as a whole. What began on a hot day on the West Coast of Africa some four centuries ago in packed-to-capacity slave ships, culminated on a cold morning on the East Coast of America in our nation’s capitol.

Our history hopefully will inspire others.

It is on the shoulders of these giants that we stand. It is this history which we wish to chronicle.


Part 1: 390 Years of 'Yes we Can"  



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Part 2:  Our President Barack Obama: Hopes and Dreams Can Be Powerful

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 Part 3: Our Journey Continues 

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