Obama Not First U.S. President of African Ancestry

In cartoons, for example, President Abraham Lincoln was described as "Abraham Africanus, the First." Warren Harding refused to deny that he had African ancestors. Calvin Coolidge attributed his mother’s dark skin to her mixed Indian ancestry.

[Post Election 2008]

When President-elect Barack Hussein Obama was born in 1961, interracial marriages enjoyed no constitutional protections. Thus, Obama’s right to travel with both his white mother and Black father in many states was forbidden. His travel, with his parents, would have been banned below the Mason-Dixon line. Change arrived in 1968.

The marching feet and protest songs of Blacks gave rise to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.Without the Black and/or Latino vote, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Indiana and Ohio would have been scored in Sen. John McCain’s presidential column. Change in presidential politics arrived in 2008. Without the Voting Rights Act of 1965, McCain would have been given the keys to the White House, since his 279 votes in the Electoral College would have been sufficient to defeat Obama. The successful candidate needed 270 votes out of 538 votes in the Electoral College. Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but the Supreme Court gave Florida’s votes in the Electoral College to Gov. George W. Bush. Florida took Black voters back to Christmas Day 1951.Harry and Henrietta Moore died from the dynamiting of their home. Gore refused to raise a claim of racial discrimination before the High Court.

Black people had a reason to be elated on Election Day, but it was not because Obama was the first person of African ancestry to receive keys to the White House. He was the seventh person of African ancestry to be given those keys. Six presidents of African ancestry have preceded him. White supremacists have the power to classify and define all residents in the United States. One drop of African blood will do the trick. This drop of blood must be powerful, because it automatically makes a white person Black.

In cartoons, for example, President Abraham Lincoln was described as “Abraham Africanus, the First.” Warren Harding refused to deny that he had African ancestors. Calvin Coolidge attributed his mother’s dark skin to her mixed Indian ancestry. A body of literature exists on Black presidents in the White House. It includes books by J.A. Rogers, Dr. Auset Bakhufu and David Coyle. These books point out that six presidents had African blood, but were able to pass for white.

Federal law enforcement agents from the Justice Department seized and destroyed all copies of William Chancellor’s book on Warren Harding and also seized and destroyed a Life magazine depicting a photo of President Dwight Eisenhower’s mother. She was a “mulatto.”

Assuming that Obama was the first Black president in the United States, this alone is not the legitimate reason for elation. Something else is significant in Obama’s presidential victory. The world has never witnessed a person from an oppressed group at the bottom of a country’s political hierarchy going to its zenith. Although Obama is not a descendant of enslaved Africans, he is a member of a historically despised group in the United States. His wife, Michelle, is a descendant of enslaved Africans. Her life has been negatively affected by both race and the legacy of involuntary servitude. Obama’s life has been negatively affected by race.

We are witnessing a replay of Reconstruction. I imagine that the same reaction would be occurring in Israel if a Palestinian had been elected prime minister of Israel. The ruling class in any diverse society is typically xenophobic. Compare the Untouchables in India.

In Reconstruction, whites envisioned a Black, hostile takeover of state and federal governments. Whites armed themselves to the teeth. History is repeating itself. The gun is an equalizer, and the right to “keep and bear arms” is the equal protection clause of the Second Amendment.

Despite the recession, whites are zealously exercising rights under the Second Amendment. It is no accident that the Supreme Court waited until 2008 to definitively interpret the right to “keep and bear arms.” Whites have been arming themselves since this historic ruling. While this presidential election may have been a land-slide in the Electoral College, it was certainly not a land-slide in the popular vote. Even with a bad economy, McCain was still able to muster 46 percent of the popular vote. Obama received 52 percent of its vote. Moreover, the Republicans still have the South and the Great Plains in their back pocket.

This means that most whites who voted for Obama voted their interests and not their ideologies. The only option for whites in 2008 was suicide. Whites may be irrational over the question of race, but they are not insane. Obama had the only lifeline. What was remarkable about Election Day 2008 was the geopolitics of race. The Confederate States of America, consisting of 11 states, remained virtually intact. Missouri and Kentucky enjoyed a dual status during the Civil War. They voted for McCain. Florida, North Carolina and Virginia went for Obama because of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and carpetbaggers. Geopolitics in the United States is rooted in Article IV, Sec.3 of the U.S. Constitution, the Northwest Ordinance; the Missouri Compromise; and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Dred Scott v. Taney became the final blow. The Supreme Court decided the question of land use in the United States. The Missouri Compromise was invalidated. “No Negro has any rights that whites are bound to respect” was obiter dictum. Obama has his work cut out for him. He promised to obliterate the politics of blue states and red states. His intention is to cement a United States of America. He expressed his intention at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. This was also the aim of Lincoln, who said, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would do it.”

Malcolm X said, “By any means necessary.” Obama is following in Lincoln’s footsteps. Lincoln also said in 1858, “I agree with Judge Douglas. A Black man is not my equal in many respects—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to the bread, without leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas and the equal of every living man.”

Booker T. Washington made a similar argument at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta in 1895.His speech was not only aimed at this country’s immigration policy, but it was also his offer to surrender the social and political right of Blacks. A year later, the Supreme Court agreed.

Even if Lincoln had not been assassinated, he would have, nonetheless, failed in joining together a divided nation because his plan was to exclude Blacks. Hopefully, Obama will not make the same mistake. Black soldiers saved the Union, and Black votes launched Obama into the White House.

It is amazing that Lincoln and Obama have sought to cement the separatist politics of Hamilton and Jefferson. Two men of African ancestry divided the country, and two men of African ancestry pledged to unite it. A leopard cannot change its spots. Red states and blue states are, respectively, code words for Confederate States of America and “Federalist States of America.” United States of America is a misnomer. The election of Obama shows that whites can vote their interests while retaining their ideologies.

Nov. 19—UAM weekly forum at the Elks Plaza, 1068 Harriet Tubman Avenue (Fulton Street) near Classon Avenue in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.
Admission is free. Dec. 6—Alton Maddox and Dr. Leonard Jeffries will conduct an “Advanced Seminar on Critical Thinking and

Systems Analysis” at City College in the NAC Building, 141st Street and Convent Avenue in Harlem. For admission information, call (718) 834-9034.

See: www.reinstatealtonmaddox.net for “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” “Black Solidarity Day,” “A Political Guide to Election Day 2008,” “Election Day: A Family Affair in New York” and “Emergency Plan for Election Day 2008

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