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President Obama Isnít the ďFirst Black PresidentĒ (1546 hits)

Posted By: Leroy Vaughn, author of Black People and Their Place in World History
You've seen the headlines: "Are Americans Ready for a Black President?" "Is Obama Black Enough?" "Obama: America's First Black President?"

Ever since the nation first met Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in 2004, his race has been called into question more times than Michael Jackson's. Obama is clearly a black man, but is this really a breakthrough? Some blacks say Obama isn't "black enough," which seems ironic because for many blacks, former President Bill Clinton was "black enough." In 2001, Clinton was honored as the nation's "first black president" at the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.
Were there other "black" presidents? Some historians have reason to believe people don't really understand the genealogy of past U.S. Presidents. Research shows at least five U.S. presidents had black ancestors and Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president, was considered the first black president, according to historian Leroy Vaughn, author of Black People and Their Place in World History.

Vaughn's research shows Jefferson was not the only former black U.S. president. Who were the others? Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. But why was this unknown? How were they elected president? All five of these presidents never acknowledged their black ancestry.

Jefferson, who served two terms between 1801 and 1809, was described as the "son of a half-breed Indian squaw and a Virginia mulatto father," as stated in Vaughn's findings. Jefferson also was said to have destroyed all documentation attached to his mother, even going to extremes to seize letters written by his mother to other people.

President Andrew Jackson, the nation's seventh president, was in office between 1829 and 1837. Vaughn cites an article written in The Virginia Magazine of History that Jackson was the son of an Irish woman who married a black man. The magazine also stated that Jackson's oldest brother had been sold as a slave.

Lincoln, the nation's 16th president, served between 1861 and 1865. Lincoln was said to have been the illegitimate son of an African man, according to Leroy's findings. Lincoln had very dark skin and coarse hair and his mother allegedly came from an Ethiopian tribe. His heritage fueled so much controversy that Lincoln was nicknamed "Abraham Africanus the First" by his opponents.

President Warren Harding, the 29th president, in office between 1921 and 1923, apparently never denied his ancestry. According to Vaughn, William Chancellor, a professor of economics and politics at Wooster College in Ohio, wrote a book on the Harding family genealogy. Evidently, Harding had black ancestors between both sets of parents. Chancellor also said that Harding attended Iberia College, a school founded to educate fugitive slaves.
Coolidge, the nation's 30th president, served between 1923 and 1929 and supposedly was proud of his heritage. He claimed his mother was dark because of mixed Indian ancestry. Coolidge's mother's maiden name was "Moor" and in Europe the name "Moor" was given to all blacks just as "Negro" was used in America. It later was concluded that Coolidge was part black.
The only difference between Obama and these former presidents is that none of their family histories were fully acknowledged by others. Even though Obama is half-white, he strongly resembles his Kenyan father. And not only is Obama open about his ancestry, most people acknowledge him as a black man, which is why people will identify Obama, if elected, as the first black president of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge
Posted By: anita moore
Tuesday, November 23rd 2010 at 7:47PM
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Sorry Anita--

As someone who has deep respect for Black History and for the amazing resilience, courage and achievements of many millions of unknown African-Americans, I can't go with you here.

This is an example of shoddy history.

Leroy Vaughn is an amateur historian and an ophthalmologist by profession. His 2001 book BLACK PEOPLE AND THEIR PLACE IN HISTORY provides no documentation and no footnotes to support his statements. None of his statements can be confirmed or verified.

His book does not meet established professional standards of historical analysis.


The honor of our first African-American President remains with Barack Obama who wears it with grace, dignity and intelligence.

Saturday, November 27th 2010 at 2:55PM
Richard Kigel
Here's one from the archives. I could point you to the blog it came from, where there is more, but some of it's not pretty.

Saturday, August 21st 2010 at 3:12PM
The result that knocked me off my chair showed that one-fifth of my ancestry is Asian. Poring over the charts and statistics, I said out loud, "This has got to be a mistake."

That's a common response among people who are tested. Ostensibly white people who always thought of themselves as 100 percent European find they have substantial African ancestry. People who regard themselves as black sometimes discover that the African ancestry is a minority portion of their DNA.

These results are forcing people to re-examine the arbitrary calculations our culture uses to decide who is "white" and who is "black."


Steve Williams

Saturday, November 27th 2010 at 8:19PM
Adam Fate
Good information Brotha Adam. Iíve bookmarked that site for later studies. Goes to show you how mixed up we really are. Look at Senator McCain who has a white side and because his family owned slaves also has a black side whom he denies. His black side came out during the nominations, also known as McCains, but was quickly covered up by press etc. His brother acknowledged them and even attended family reunions, and embraced his black side, which McCain has yet to attend any reunions or accept his black side. Shows how some people are open to the possibilities and other closed minded, hateful, evil people are not. You canít deny the facts, no matter how much you try to hide them. Eventually it all comes out in the wash with some good little history hunting. Again Iím not saying I believe it, but I do believe in the possibilities .
Saturday, November 27th 2010 at 8:43PM
anita moore
Certainly there are the possibilities, sister Anita. Look at the youth today, that are open to the possibilities. One day the word race will be seen as meaningless, a product of an obsolete scientific mind. But the word lives on.
Saturday, November 27th 2010 at 9:02PM
Adam Fate
@Sista Irma, you will be amazed at how whites felt about president Obama and it was based on his mixed heritage. Ex: I was working at the VA Hospital during Obama's run and the whites there who were for him wanted to claim him as much as blacks. I would sit and listen to them say, well he is mixed after all. That gave them the reason or excuse in their minds to vote for a black man. He was after all a part of them, but now that things are not going as well as they want it to be he's that black president. I heard these young ladies saying why do blacks keep saying heís black, heís got white blood in him. Their friends told them, well he has black blood in him, so that makes him black. That young lady told them, well I donít care as long as he has white blood, Im claiming him as mine. Now What! What is that mindset!
I do believe no matter what color president obama looked like whether his dominant skin color had been dark or light, black or white, it would have been an issue, simply because of his name and heritage. They traced his background to Africa, his relatives (father,brothers, sisters, aunts)were brought into the conversation. They showed his relatives watching tv and screaming, so yes even his relatives would have been screaming of his success had he been lighter. It was their love and for him and their pride in him. So no matter what the whites who were against him did not want that black man in office and did everything they could do to stop him, including bringing a woman into the mix who used her religion as a way to try to demoralize him, only Sister Grizzley got out of hand and went solo, something they didnít expect to happen. Now sheís against her own and has her own agenda, which history shows is the tactic of powerful whites. Divide and Conquer!
@brotha Adam, you traced your genealogy back to Asia? Dig a little deeper because I do believe thereís some black in there somewhere and thatís a compliment!
God Bless!

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 7:45AM
anita moore
beautiful and insightful posts.

Can I say that Our Greatest AMerican President, Commander in Chief Baraka Hussein Obama is the First President with an African Muslim Father?
Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 9:10AM
powell robert
Sister Anita, thank you for the compliment, I believe you are correct. But I have yet to do my own DNA test, it is a matter of price. I apologize for not being clear in my post, the words are an excerpt from the author of the article I linked to.
Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 1:03PM
Adam Fate
@ Brotha Adam, my mistake, but the compliment still stands.
@ Brotha Rowell, I am surprised to hear you say this, in viewing your post I don't find you to be very complimentary to blacks. (ex: your ape comments), but I thank you for the compliment.
Actually he was born a Roman Catholic and converted to Muslim as a young man and as Barack had no connection with his father, he had no knowledge of his father's religious practices, so yes you can say his father at one time converted to Islam. Is there more to this comment brother?

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 1:46PM
anita moore
Given the so-called "one drop rule," I would be surprised to find that all of the presidents before Obama were 100% "white" as the definition goes in the US. And Anita, good point, just as history has whitewashed so many aspects of the facts and truth, that we have subsequently found out, just to assuage "white" cultural sensibilities, it is not far fetched that some of these presidents prior to Obama would have been "black;" again, as the definition goes.

The genealogy of William Harding has long since been documented as containing non-white blood. That he lived as "white" and was elected as such would have been the only saving grace, however that in itself would not have negated the fact that America just put a "black man" (again, by its own definition, however crazy it was and is) in the white house.

The difference is, whereas a Harding or some of the others could "pass" Obama could not, and he did not try to pass, regardless of the fact that he had a white parent. It was not Obama that was confused, but many of those who voted for him and assuaged their consciences with the action that they were about to take, in voting for him, by telling themselves "he's half white." Its crazy.

One of the biggest problems Obama has then, is that the nation has projected all of its crazy peculiarities with race onto this one man, and immediately became dissapointed after electing him, not so much because he failed, but because of the flaws in that which they projected on him. Their guilot remained, and the raw racism of the tea baggers emphasized that.

Its like in software development, when we say, "garbage in, garbage out."

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 2:09PM
@Brotha Clark, you hit it on the head. Its not Obama's fault but being that he is sitting at the head, he is the one who is be subjected to all the fallout. All the negativity from the right as well and all the dissappointment from the right. My question is when are we all gonna wake up and realize that each and every one of us had a hand in where we stand now. Iím sorry I canít say WE, I must say those in charge knew this was coming and didnít stop to do anything about it, why because they were filling their pockets.
The comments I made about the white young ladies commenting on the president being half white goes to show you where a lot of the mindset still is in many whites. Until those changes take place, any kind of real movement will not take place and thatís a shame.

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 2:47PM
anita moore
As Robert knows, I do my best to avoid the black/white/race terms. We have ancestry, that is a matter of interest. But let me use the common terms for the sake of communication. I think many whites voted for Obama because he is black, same reason many blacks voted for him, plus the fact he is a Democrat. I am not Democrat, but I thought it would be a good thing if a woman (Hillary) or a black (Obama) were voted in, because we need to get over this majority (white/male) mindset. However, I do not like the policies of the Democrat Obama administration, nor do many Americans (sorry Robert). Is it possible that we can have political disagreements without boiling it all down to skin color? I would like to see some common sense in our president (and the government he/she leads), and if the president were a woman of predominantly African descent, not a Democrat (but I do not say, a Republican) that would be icing on the cake, because it would demonstrate that we would finally be a united people, and recognize the true qualifications of the office, and the role of government. Someday we will be ready for that, but the time has not yet come.
Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 3:28PM
Adam Fate
Adam, Anita's question was not about the politics of Obama but the race question. That's what we're talking about here. As much as that carries the negativity with it that it does, its a reality. Pretending something is not the case does not make it go away, nor is it a response in dealing with it.

That said though, while I respect the fact that you do not like democratic policies (whatever that is today, as I damn sure aren't seeing much of that from this administration) I would say that having some would be a real change (the "change" that Obama hinted at, but so far has not fully delivered much on) since for the last 30 years we have belabored under republican/conservative policies since Reagan, i.e. "small government", "tax cuts", "personal responsibility" etc.

We tried all that and its not politics, but fact, to say that it does not work. Tax cuts have not created jobs, "small government has not created a smaller deficit (that's because the so-called small government crowd didn't real it mean it literally; small government means cutting out the things they don't like while spending big on things they did) and wars have not made us safer.

Obama has bent over backwards to "be a united people" by extending a hand to the republicans, who have consistently returned the gesture with a clenched fist. He went so far in that direction as to sacrifice any progress that could have been made, to the chagrin of democratic supporters, to be a "united people."

Problem is it takes two to tango, and the republicans and their supporters, and democratic detractors cannot have it both ways and be honest. Blaming Obama for the people not being "united" without calling out the GOP's more than heavy hand in this, in terms of their policy of obstruction and stoking fear as a campaign tactic, is politics as well.

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 4:24PM
Dear Anita:


You sure did a TON of research on the Black President issue! I have to respect the work you put into educating yourself.

People can have differing opinions--and we will just have to agree to disagree on that.

It is true that black history has been neglected, abused, misused, falsified and distorted for centuries. BUT...in the past thirty years, the systematic study and research into black history has never been greater. There are more Black History departments at more colleges across the country than ever before. There are more books on black history than ever before. There are more researchers examing every aspect of black history than ever before.

AND...there is the exciting new NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE. Construction of the NMAAHC on the MALL in WAshington DC is scheduled to begin in 2012 and completed in 2015.

Even now, there is a web presence for anytone who is interested!!!


So there is plenty of documnetation to support many contentions about black history--and to refute what is actually false.

Meanwhile--here is a statement of fact that I think we can both agree on:


What do you think? You with me on that?

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 4:55PM
Richard Kigel
this is a very encouraging and educational blog the information here is really a eye opener and stimulating thought ,,thanks to all
Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 5:04PM
From my perspective, President Obama has the hardest job in the world, more complicated and dangerous than anyone can even imagine.

From the standpoint of doing his job, it doesn't matter one bit if he is the third, fourth, sixth or ninth Black President--he still has the same problems facing him--and us.

But since he is first PROUD AFRICAN-AMERICAN President, lets let the man enjoy the honor--then let's roll our sleeves up and help him work out the problems of our nation before the whole boat sinks and takes us all under with it!!!

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 5:52PM
Richard Kigel
@Brotha Adam I live for the day, when race will no longer matter, but a person be judged on their character
@Brotha Clark, Ouuu that was good. I had to give the wall a high five on that one.
@ OK Brotha Kige, being that you wonít concede, we will just have to agree to disagree. Yes Im in agreement with you: BARACK OBAMA IS THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT WHO IS DAMN PROUD OF HIS HISTORY AND HERITAGE!
I checked out your link, and very interesting. Its a great start. I just hope they go all the way back in history and not just post constitution. Thereís so much more our children need to know about. After all if you donít know where you come from, you wonít know where youíre going.
@ Thanks Brotha David, I do try.
@ Sista Irma, I knew you would come with some interesting tidbit of information. Thanks!
@Brother Kigel, Im with you. Its time to not talk about it and be about it. Great comment!

Sunday, November 28th 2010 at 9:46PM
anita moore
to tell the truth from where "I" sit it all has to odo with what we define as skin color...to such an extent we never call our president the half black the half White president now do we...example,

our president had a 50-50 chance of hiaving the dominate dkin color of his mother and we wuuld not be having this conversation ...now would we...not even the one ounce of black blood theory. (smile)

Me "I" say lets do a DNA race test and settle this once and for all...hell it may help to show just how mixed blood we are in America, huh? lol (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
@Adam, lets be a little more patient after all it has not been too long ago we learned slaves could read and write...

in our public schools. (nup)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
...and let us not forget how the supreme court covered up and made it right as far as MCcain not being born on American soil...that is if Panama has not become an American state (AFTER HAWAII. OTFL)and America knows nothing about it. (NUP)

Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
@Clark, you are so correct and on point. (smile)
Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
@Brother Cow..."I" would like to add to this , this from teh telegram sent to president Obama by Bishop Tutu ..."FROM SLAVERY TO LEADER OF THE MOST POWERFUL GOVERNMENT ON EARTH".

Thursday, April 10th 2014 at 6:47PM
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