African American History, African American Politics, President Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

My President Was Black – The Atlantic A history of the first African American White House—and of what came next


In the waning days of President Barack Obama’s administration, he and his wife, Michelle, hosted a farewell party, the full import of which no one could then grasp. It was late October, Friday the 21st, and the president had spent many of the previous weeks, as he would spend the two subsequent weeks, campaigning for the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. Things were looking up. Polls in the crucial states of Virginia and Pennsylvania showed Clinton with solid advantages. The formidable GOP strongholds of Georgia and Texas were said to be under threat. The moment seemed to buoy Obama. He had been light on his feet in these last few weeks, cracking jokes at the expense of Republican opponents and laughing off hecklers. At a rally in Orlando on October 28, he greeted a student who would be introducing him by dancing toward her and then noting that the song playing over the loudspeakers—the Gap Band’s “Outstanding”—was older than she was. “This is classic!” he said. Then he flashed the smile that had launched America’s first black presidency, and started dancing again. Three months still remained before Inauguration Day, but staffers had already begun to count down the days. They did this with a mix of pride and longing—like college seniors in early May. They had no sense of the world they were graduating into. None of us did.

African American History, African American Politics, President Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

African American History, African American Politics, President Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | Win McNamee/Getty Images

African American History, African American Politics, President Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

African American History, African American Politics, President Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Ta-Nehisi Coates, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNPhoto | AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin



Ta-Nehisi Paul Coates, (Born September 30, 1975) is an American writer, journalist, and educator. Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, where he writes about cultural, social and political issues, particularly as they regard African-Americans. Coates has worked for The Village Voice, Washington City Paper, and Time. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washington Monthly, O, and other publications. In 2008 he published a memoir, The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. His second book, Between the World and Me, was released in July 2015. It won the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and is a nominee for the Phi Beta Kappa 2016 Book Awards. He was the recipient of a “Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2015. (Wikipedia)