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Quetzal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-04 06:42 AM
Original message
The Next Black Senator?
Edited on Wed Mar-24-04 06:49 AM by Quetzal
The Next Black Senator?

I first met Barack Obama in the old Kroch's and Brentano's bookstore on 53rd Street in Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago. His memoir, "Dreams From My Father," had just been published and he was just beginning to emerge as a name-to-know in the post-Harold Washington, black political Chicago of the mid-1990s. And I not one to miss an opportunity to meet a progressive newsmaker, not to mention a fine brother approached him. I was the only person in the store who did.

He looked every bit the law professor, peering studiously at displays in the store and jotting down notes, clearly wondering where his book was and why it was not out front. I sidled next to him with a broad smile and asked, "So how's the book doing?" He took my extended hand, smiled back and said, "I'm trying to figure that out right now."

Obama, 42, has clearly "blown up" since that quiet, bookstore encounter. First as a popular and effective lawmaker in the Illinois Legislature; then as a candidate in an ugly and unsuccessful Congressional race against former Black Panther Bobby Rush; and now Obama, who won the US Senate primary in Illinois against seven candidates, is poised to make history.


To those in Illinois, was there a mantra by some in the African-American community that Obama was not "black" enough? If so, it would be a shame if some individuals painted him that way.

More about Obama and his Hawaii ties...

Punahou grad stirs
up Illinois politics
The driven Democrat could
become the only black U.S. senator

When he kicked off his campaign 16 months ago, few people thought Barack Obama had a chance. Veteran political observers and Democratic Party insiders throughout the country had written off this Hawaii-born civil rights lawyer, law professor and Illinois state senator who was trying to win that state's Democratic nomination for U.S. senator. But last Tuesday's primary election was an Obama blowout. The 1979 Punahou School graduate took 53 percent of the votes in a seven-person race. His nearest opponent had 24 percent.


In 1960, Kenya native Barack Obama Sr. was the first African to study at the East-West Center, when he met S. Ann Dunham, from Kansas, who was attending the University of Hawaii-Manoa. The two married and young Barack was born the following year.

His parents divorced when he was 2 years old and his mother married another East-West Center student. In 1969, his stepfather moved the family to the stepfather's native Indonesia. After two years in Jakarta, Barack moved back to Hawaii to stay with his maternal grandmother, who still lives in the same house on Beretania Street. He enrolled in the fifth grade at Punahou School.

His first job was at the Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop at King and Punahou streets, and he has said he's "never liked ice cream since." (Hey, that is not that far from my college) :-)

"I could see he was bound for bigger things," said longtime friend, classmate and football teammate Bobby Titcomb.

"He looked at the world more globally than the rest of us. There was something driven about him. "But he also played basketball, tennis and hung out at the beach with the rest of us."

"He loves Hawaii and comes back with Michelle (his wife) and the girls whenever he can," said his sister, Maya Soetoro, who teaches history and social studies at the UH Lab School.


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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-24-04 08:11 AM
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1. I never heard anything here in Illinois about him not being black enough.
He seems to have tremendous support in the black community.

Now, he has to get out to the rest of the state, so we can all get to know him.

I do think he has a great chance to win. Who, in Illinois, would want to vote for someone named Ryan, after all we have been through with that governor? Ewwww....
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-04 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
2. black enough?
is he biracial?
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MonicaR Donating Member (152 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-04 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Is He Biracial?
Edited on Thu Mar-25-04 11:44 PM by MonicaR
Yep, White mother, Kenyan father
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MonicaR Donating Member (152 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-04 11:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. A Chance To Make History
If Obama wins, he would be the first African-American Democratic male senator ever elected.

The other African-American males elected to the Senate, Hiram Revels and Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi, and Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, were all Republicans
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