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Black History PT.3 : Our Journey Continues

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Eric Holder, first African American Attorney General of the United States, was sworn in on February 3, 2009

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Michael Steele is the first African American to lead the Republican Party

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010) was an American administrator, educator, and social activist. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. At an early age, she moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania, a steel town in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Height was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon arrival, she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students per year. She pursued studies instead at New York University, earning a degree in 1932, and a master's degree in educational psychology the following year. Height started working as a caseworker with the New York City Welfare Department and, at the age of twenty-five, she began a career as a civil rights activist when she joined the National Council of Negro Women. She fought for equal rights for both African Americans and women, and in 1944 she joined the national staff of the YWCA. She also served as National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority from 1946 to 1957.  She remained active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority throughout her life. While there she developed leadership training programs and interracial and ecumenical education programs.

In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997. During the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Height organized "Wednesdays in Mississippi", which brought together black and white women from the North and South to create a dialogue of understanding. American leaders regularly took her counsel, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Height also encouraged President Dwight D. Eisenhower to desegregate schools and President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African American women to positions in government. In the mid 1960s, Height wrote a column entitled "A Woman's Word" for the weekly African-American newspaper, the New York Amsterdam News and her first column appeared in the March 20, 1965 issue on page 8. Height served on a number of committees, including as a consultant on African affairs to the Secretary of State, the President's Committee on the Employment of the Handicapped, and the President's Committee on the Status of Women. In 1974, Height was named to the National Council for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, which published The Belmont Report, a response to the infamous "Tuskegee Syphillis Study" and an international ethical touchstone for researchers to this day.

In 2004, Height was recognized by Barnard for her achievements as an honorary alumna during its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The musical stage play If This Hat Could Talk, based on her memoirs Open Wide The Freedom Gates, debuted in the middle of 2005. It showcases her unique perspective on the civil rights movement and details many of the behind-the-scenes figures and mentors who shaped her life, including Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt. Height was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the largest civil rights organization in the USA. She was an honored guest and seated on stage at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009.

She attended the National Black Family Reunion, celebrated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., every year until her death in 2010. On March 25, 2010 Height was admitted to Howard University Hospital in Washington D.C. for unspecified reasons. Her spokeswoman issued a statement stating that at that time she was in a "very serious, but stable" condition but that they were remaining optimistic about her recovery. On April 20, 2010, Height died at the age of ninety-eight. Her funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral on April 29, 2010 was attended by President and Mrs Obama plus many dignitaries and notable people. She was later interred at Fort Lincoln Cemetery.

Benjamin Lawson Hooks (January 31, 1925 – April 15, 2010) was an American civil rights leader. A Baptist minister and practicing attorney, he served as executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1977 to 1992, and throughout his career was a vocal campaigner for civil rights in the United States.

Benjamin Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the fifth of seven children of Robert B. Hooks and Bessie White Hooks. His father was a photographer and owned a photography studio with his brother Henry known at the time as Hooks Brothers, and the family was fairly comfortable by the standards of black people for the day. Still, he recalls that he had to wear hand-me-down clothes and that his mother had to be careful to make the dollars stretch to feed and care for the family.

Hooks enrolled in LeMoyne-Owen College, in Memphis, Tennessee. There he undertook a pre-law course of study 1941–43. In his college years he became more acutely aware that he was one of a large number of Americans who were required to use segregated lunch counters, water fountains, and restrooms. “I wish I could tell you every time I was on the highway and couldn’t use a restroom,” he told U.S. News & World Report in an interview. “My bladder is messed up because of that. Stomach is messed up from eating cold sandwiches.”

After graduating in 1944 from Howard University, he joined the Army and had the job of guarding Italian prisoners of war. He found it humiliating that the prisoners were allowed to eat in restaurants from which he was barred. He was discharged from the Army after the end of the war with the rank of staff sergeant.

After the war he enrolled at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago to study law. No law school in his native Tennessee would admit him. He graduated from DePaul in 1948 with his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree.

Legal Career

Upon graduation Hooks immediately returned to his native Memphis. By this time he was thoroughly committed to breaking down the practices of racial segregation that existed in the United States. Fighting prejudice at every turn, he passed the Tennessee bar exam and set up his own law practice. “At that time you were insulted by law clerks, excluded from white bar associations and when I was in court, I was lucky to be called Ben,” he recalled in an interview with Jet magazine. “Usually it was just ‘boy.’ [But] the judges were always fair. The discrimination of those days has changed and, today, the South is ahead of the North in many respects in civil rights progress.”

The NAACP

On November 6, 1976, the 64-member board of directors of the NAACP elected Hooks executive director of the organization. In the late 1970s the membership had declined from a high of about 500,000 to only about 200,000. Hooks was determined to add to the enrollment and to raise money for the organization’s severely depleted treasury, without changing the NAACP’s goals or mandates. “Black Americans are not defeated,” he told Ebony soon after his formal induction in 1977. “The civil rights movement is not dead. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop agitating, they had better think again. If anyone thinks that we are going to stop litigating, they had better close the courts. If anyone thinks that we are not going to demonstrate and protest, they had better roll up the sidewalks.”

FCC

Hooks had been a producer and host of several local television shows in Memphis in addition to his other duties and was a strong supporter of Republican political candidates. In 1972, President Richard Nixon appointed Hooks to be one of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Senate confirmed the nomination, and Benjamin and Frances Hooks moved to Washington, D.C. in 1973. As a member of the FCC, Hooks addressed the lack of minority ownership of television and radio stations, the minority employment statistics for the broadcasting industry, and the image of blacks in the mass media. Hooks completed his five-year term on the board of commissioners in 1978, but he continued to work for black involvement in the entertainment industry.

Preacher

Hooks still felt the calling to the Christian ministry that he had felt in his youth. He was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1956 and began to preach regularly at the Greater Middle Baptist Church in Memphis, while continuing his busy law practice. He joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (then known as Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration) along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also became a pioneer in the NAACP-sponsored restaurant sit-ins and other boycotts of consumer items and services.

Honors

Hooks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in November 2007.

He was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1986.

Which 50 Cent?

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50 Cent: "Watch what I do, not exactly what I say, because that's the entertainment portion."

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., (born September 16, 1950) is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. He serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, where he is director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

Cambridge arrest

On July 16, 2009, Gates returned home from a trip to China to find the door to his house jammed. His driver attempted to help him gain entrance. A passer-by called police reporting a possible break-in and a Cambridge police officer was dispatched. The resulting confrontation resulted in Gates being arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Prosecutors later dropped the charges. The incident spurred a politically charged exchange of views about race relations and law enforcement throughout the United States. The arrest garnered national attention after U.S. President Barack Obama declared that the police "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates. The President eventually extended an invitation to both Gates and the officer involved to share a beer with him at the White House.

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On March 9, 2010, Gates claimed on the Oprah Winfrey Show that he and Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer in the Cambridge incident, share a common ancestor.

On June 30, 2010, an independent panel with experts from across the nation published a report that states "Sergeant Crowley and Professor Gates each missed opportunities to 'ratchet down' the situation and end it peacefully" and share responsibility for the controversial July 16 arrest. Crowley could have better explained how uncertain and potentially dangerous it is to respond to a serious crime-in-progress call and why this can result in a seemingly rude tone. Gates could have tried to understand Crowley’s view of the situation and could have spoken respectfully to Crowley. The report cites research that shows people’s feelings about a police encounter depend significantly on whether they feel the officer displays respect and courtesy.

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The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Police shooting of Oscar Grant refers to the fatal shooting of unarmed civilian Oscar Grant by BART Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California, United States, in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009. Responding to reports of a fight on a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Oscar Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Officer Johannes Mehserle and another officer were restraining Grant, who was prostrate and allegedly resisting arrest. Officer Mehserle stood, drew his gun and shot Grant once in the back. Grant was unarmed. During his court testimony, Mehserle said that Grant then exclaimed, "You shot me!" Grant was pronounced dead the next morning at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

The events were captured on multiple digital video and cell phone cameras. The footage was disseminated to media outlets and to various websites, where it was watched hundreds of thousands of times. The following days saw both peaceful and violent protests.

Police officer with Johannes Mehserle

The shooting has been variously labeled an involuntary manslaughter and a summary execution. On January 13, Alameda County prosecutors charged Mehserle with murder for the shooting. He resigned his position and pleaded not guilty. The trial began on June 10, 2010. Michael Rains, Mehserle's criminal defense attorney, has claimed Mehserle intended to fire his Taser, but mistakenly shot Grant with a pistol when he thought Grant was reaching for a gun.Pretrial filings argue that his client did not commit first-degree murder and asked a Los Angeles judge to instruct the jury to limit its deliberations to either second-degree murder or acquittal.

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART on behalf of Grant's family.

On July 8, 2010, the jury returned its verdict: Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and not guilty of second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Initial protests against the ruling were peacefully organized; looting, arson, destruction of property, and small riots broke out after dark. Nearly 80 people were eventually arrested.

On Friday, July 9, the U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights case against Mehserle; the federal government can prosecute him independently for the same act under the separate sovereigns exception to double jeopardy. The Department of Justice will be working with the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco and the FBI.

On November 5, 2010 Mehserle was sentenced to two years, minus time served. He will be eligible for release after around a year. 

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Charles Bernard "Charlie" Rangel  is the U.S. Representative for New York's 15th congressional district, serving since 1971. He is a member of the Democratic Party. As the most senior member, he is the Dean of New York's congressional delegation. In January 2007, Rangel became Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the first African-American to do so. He is also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Beginning in 2008, Rangel faced a series of allegations of ethics violations and failures to comply with tax laws. The House Ethics Committee focused on whether Rangel improperly rented multiple rent-stabilized New York apartments, improperly used his office in raising money for the Rangel Center at the City College of New York, and failed to disclose rental income from his villa in the Dominican Republic. In March 2010, Rangel stepped aside as Ways and Means Chair. In November 2010, the Ethics Committee found Rangel guilty of 11 counts of violating House ethics rules, and on December 2, the full House approved a sanction of censure against Rangel.

Dr. L.D. Britt, the first black person in America to have an endowed chair in surgery, will soon be president of the American College of Surgeons. Above, he works with an Eastern Virginia Medical School student at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Dr.Britt is a graduate of The University of Virginia and Harvard University where he received his M.D.

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Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Received Presidential Medal of Honor on Feb.15, 2011.

John Lewis first visited the White House and President John Kennedy in 1963 as a 23-year-old son of sharecroppers intent on changing the world.

He would go on to help do just that -- at sit-ins in Nashville, at bus stops in Rock Hill, S.C. and on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, when he was nearly beaten to death by police on a fateful, hate-filled day that changed the course of the civil rights movement and later became known as Bloody Sunday.

Nearly 50 years later, Lewis (Feb.15,2011) -- now Rep. Lewis of Atlanta -- was back at the White House, one of 15 recipients of the presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., southwest of the National Mall . The memorial is America's 395th national park.

Although this is not the first memorial to an African-American in Washington, D.C., Dr. King is the first African-American honored with a memorial on or near the National Mall and only the fourth non-President to be memorialized in such a way. 

The Memorial conveys three themes that were central throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, and hope. The centerpiece of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is the “Stone of Hope”, a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, gazing into the horizon and concentrating on the future and hope for humanity. The sculpture was carved from 159 granite blocks that were assembled to appear as one singular piece. There is also a 450-foot inscription wall, made from granite panels, that is inscribed with 14 excerpts of King's sermons and public addresses to serve as living testaments of his vision of America. Landscape elements of the Memorial include American Elm trees, Yoshino Cherry Trees, Liriope plants, English yew, jasmine and sumac. 

Herman Cain (born December 13, 1945) is an American author, business executive, radio host, syndicated columnist, and Tea Party activist from Georgia.

He was a candidate for the 2012 U.S. Republican Party presidential nomination and at one point was the leading candidate.

Famous quote during the primary: "999 plan".

JZ and Beyonce supported the re-election of President Obama and was recognized as one of America's most powerful couples.

Rev. Al Sharpton became the host of his own TV show " Politics Nation"  on  MSNBC. His voice for black America was instrumental in creating support for President Obama .

Melissa Harris-Perry also became a potent advocate for women and middle class America with her own MSNBC Saturday morning show.

Other MSNBC anchors who led the charge for the Democrats were Chris Matthews (Hard Ball), Al Sharpton (Politics Nation)

Ed Schultz (The Ed Show), Rachel Maddow (Rachel Maddow Show) and Lawrence O'Donnell (The Last Word). MSNBC became the counter programmed alternative to FOX News. MSNBC'S ratings exploded and greatly contributed to the large turnout by Democrats.

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Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West continued to criticize the White House for its lack of support for those in poverty.  Their message is that President Obama has not done enough to help the downtrodden.

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Congressman Allen West was elected to Congress in 2010. He ran as a conservative Republican (Florida) and was a Tea Party favorite . He was very critical of Democrats in general and President Obama specifically. West said  he’d “heard” up to 80 House Democrats were communists. He was defeated after only one term.

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Voter suppression laws disguised as voter fraud laws were passed in many states.  Various courts overturned many of them but several states used them to restrict the number of minorities, college students, etc. from voting. These constituencies were strongholds of support for Democrats. These laws and restrictions resulted in long waits and lines for some voters (in some cases up to eight hours). Florida was noteworthy of exercising this technique.

President Obama Re-Elected to Second Term

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Dr.  Susan Rice on Thursday, 13 December withdrew from consideration for the U.S. Secretary of State position. She had been targeted by Republicans for her statements and involvement in the Benghazi US diplomatic post attack .

She was unfairly accused by Republicans but fully supported by President Obama.

Representative Tim Scott spoke at the Republican National Convention in August.

Tim Scott, a conservative republican, was named to a South Carolina Senate seat. Mr. Scott, a Tea Party favorite, also offers a unique story and background.  Raised by a single mother, he was, by his account, a lost child who struggled with school and with life until a Chick-fil-A franchise owner took him on as a protégé and schooled him in conservative principles.

 

President Obama' s Second Inauguration (January 21, 2013)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House on Inauguration Day, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down Pennsylvania Ave during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade

2013: The Year Of Partisanship

Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity

Schumer, Reid, Pelosi

Debt Ceiling

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Sequestration

 

No Justice / Trevon Martin

No Justice / Michael Brown, Jr.

Michael Brown Ferguson, Missouri

Attorney General Eric Holder greets Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol 

Robert P. McCulloch is the Prosecuting Attorney for St. Louis County

 No Justice / Eric Garner

'The time for remorse was when my husband was yelling to breathe': Eric Garner's widow lashes out at NYPD cop who put her husband in fatal chokehold

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were shot in their patrol car (NYC)

Selma :  Understanding History So We Don't Have To Repeat It

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Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay

 

President Obama Selects New Attorney General of The United States

Loretta Lynch, sworn in on April 27, 2015

BLACK LIVES MATTER

Black Lives Matter Activists disrupt Bernie Sanders speech

 

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Simone Biles Olympic Super Star

 

2016 Election

 

 

Donald Trump meeting with a group of Black Evangelical Leaders 

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Standing On Their Shoulders 

 

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Katherine Johnson sits at her desk with a globe known as a celestial training device. The lives of Johnson and other black female mathematicians and engineers are featured in the film "Hidden Figures."

Katherine Johnson Sits At Her Desk at NASA

 


According to NASA, Mary Jackson "may have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the field" in the 1950s. 

 
Melba Roy 
led the the group human computers who tracked the Echo satellites in the 1960s. (NASA)


President Obama Gives Farewell Speech

January 10, 2016

 

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Worth Remembering

"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 ."

  Lem  Lewis

LeBron Doubles Down, Says He ‘Will Not Just Shut Up And Dribble’

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The Cleveland Cavaliers star said he will “talk about what’s really important” when it comes to the state of race relations in America.

LeBron James made it clear on Saturday that he has no intention of keeping his mouth shut and dribbling a basketball.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star said after Saturday’s NBA All-Star Game practice in Los Angeles that he will “talk about what’s really important” when it comes to the state of race relations in America.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized James earlier this week for expressing his opinions, including the quickly infamous “shut up and dribble” comment.

“I will not just shut up and dribble,” James said during his media session. .”.. So, thank you, whatever her name is. ... I get to sit up here and talk about what’s really important and how I can help change kids.”

James has used his platform and ability to reach people. He has criticized President Donald Trump and did so again in January when he and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant sat down with ESPN and both issued strong comments condemning the leadership in the White House.

Ingraham’s comments — they included telling James to “keep the political commentary to yourself” — were in reference to the James/Durant interview.

James initially put a #wewillnotshutupanddribble hashtag on his Instagram account after hearing Ingraham’s remarks.

“It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying is correct for her to have that type of reaction,” James said Saturday of Ingraham. “But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that.

“I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”

Durant echoed James’ comment with some of his own on Saturday.

“I feel like everybody has a voice, especially with our own platforms, we can use our voices for good,” Durant said. “It’s not just me. I feel like everybody in this room has a voice and it’s getting louder and louder every day, so we’ve got to speak what we believe in, we’ve got to speak our truths, and we’ve got to keep it real out here.”

Ingraham released a statement Saturday defending her comments.

“In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called ‘Shut Up & Sing,’ in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand, who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics,” Ingraham said. .”.. If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks ― false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism.”

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HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

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Black History PT 2: Our President Barack Obama: Hopes and Dreams Can Be Powerful

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 Congress.org as the eleventh most powerful Senator.

Legislation

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 USAspending.gov, 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.

Committees

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.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/BarackObama-Basketball.JPEG

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.

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2008/time_100_walkup/jeremiah_wright.jpg
Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Community Activist)

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: BlackAmericans.com 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 BlackAmericans.com.  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

Wikipedia.org and Other Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_obama

Barack And Michelle Obama’s Official Portraits

Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s official portraits were unveiled Monday at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Michelle Obama’s portrait, painted by Amy Sherald, was unveiled first:

Michelle Obama and artist Amy Sherald unveil the former first lady’s official portrait at the National Portrait Gallery.

Then came the former president’s portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley:

House Speaker Paul Ryan deletes tweet about woman's $1.50 weekly paycheck increase after fierce backlash

http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/594a7a369a7af51a008b5fb8-480/donald-trump-paul-ryan.jpg

House Speaker Paul Ryan is facing criticism Saturday after tweeting a report referencing a woman from Pennsylvania who saw an increase of $1.50 on her weekly paycheck stemming from the recently passed GOP tax-reform bill. 

In the tweet, Ryan included a link to an AP report describing how some people in the workforce have seen more take-home pay coming from the new withholding guidelines as the result of the bill's passage.

“A Secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week...she said she [that] will cover her Costco membership for the year.”

paul-ryan-tax-tweet

Some on social media were pretty upset about the tweet, including a Democratic senator and former Obama speechwriter.



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