Why we should be grateful to have witnessed President Obama at the White House


Things could change drastically in a few months. But for the past eight years, President Barack Obama took the country to new heights as America’s first Black president. During that time, our publication has been able to capture several important moments inside of the nation’s most prominent house.

The White House was once a place where Blacks and minorities were rarely accepted. According to the White House Historical Association, the White House, and other government buildings, were mostly built by Black slaves. First lady Michelle Obama spoke on that fact during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Frederick Douglass was initially denied access to the White House during President Abraham Lincoln’s administration due to its ban on Blacks. But Lincoln ordered that Douglass be admitted.

The White House’s history of exclusion continued for years until Booker T. Washington became the first Black invited dinner guest at the White House in 1901. The invitation by President Theodore Roosevelt led to extreme backlash as an assassin was hired to follow Washington to Tuskegee, Alabama, and kill him. Roosevelt also dealt with criticism from fellow politicians and the media who made vulgar cartoons and wrote harsh editorial pieces to document the moment.

Over 40 years would pass before President Harry Truman would meet with a group of Black leaders at the White House. In 1948, President Truman spoke with the Black leaders about the racial violence against Blacks in the South.

Sammy Davis Jr. became the first Black person to sleep in the White House after President Richard Nixon invited him in 1973.

By understanding the racial history of the White House, it’s awe-inspiring to walk through those gates as a Black reporter covering the first Black president. As President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to individuals such as Cicely Tyson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Diana Ross, and Michael Jordan on Nov. 22, the importance of the last eight years became more evident.

With the Trump Administration set to takeover in two months, the future of the White House and the country is unclear. But we all should be grateful that we were alive to experience a moment in history when a Black family called the White House home.

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