Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President

Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President

Edward McClelland

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1608190609

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Barack Obama's inspirational politics and personal mythology have overshadowed his fascinating history. Young Mr. Obama gives us the missing chapter: the portrait of the politician as a young leader, often too ambitious for his own good, but still equipped with a rare ability to inspire change. The route to the White House began on the streets of Chicago's South Side.

Edward McClelland, a veteran Chicago journalist, tells the real story of the first black president's political education in the capital of the African American political community. Obama's touch wasn't always golden, and the unflappable and charismatic campaigner we know today nearly derailed his political career with a disastrous run for Congress in 2000.

Obama learned from his mistakes, and rebuilt his public persona. Young Mr. Obama is a masterpiece of political reporting, peeling away the audacity, the T-shirts, and the inspiring speeches to craft acompelling and surpassingly readable account of how local politics shaped a national leader.

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Louis fight, they paraded their sedans through Harlem to envious whistles. “The story of how the black migrants from the South gathered their strength to fulfill George White’s prophecy is a story of machine politics—Chicago style,” wrote St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton in Black Metropolis, their study of the Black Belt. So it took a shady politician from the Windy City to fulfill the promises of the Declaration of Independence and the Fourteenth Amendment. The beauty of a machine is that

the Harold Washington Party. It was another racially divisive election. Unable to hold Washington’s multiethnic coalition together, Evans got only 7 percent of the white vote, a third of what his party’s namesake had received. With the Daleys restored to the mayor’s office, battles once won in the city council had to be argued in court. “Judd Miner basically made his living by suing the city,” said a man who served as an expert witness in one of his cases. That’s exactly what Miner was doing

called with another question: What would Mikva think of his running against Bobby Rush, the First District’s congressman? He’s getting restless already, Mikva thought. It wasn’t a surprise. Springfield can be a narrow, parochial place for someone who has great ideas, wants to do great things. Mikva had spent ten years there before seizing his chance to move up to Washington. Obama was trying to do it in four. The kid had obviously made up his mind. He wasn’t asking for an opinion. He was asking

dangerous and can lead to unexpected confrontations. Not only that, it erodes confidence in law enforcement. That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to address the problem of racial profiling and protect you from those who would abuse your rights. VOICE-OVER: Barack Obama, Democrat for Congress. New leadership that works for us. OBAMA: Paid for by Obama for Congress 2000. Primary day is always cold in Chicago, but Obama stood dutifully in front of elementary schools and park field houses,

that Springfield was as far from the South Side as he would ever go. Jones was not an inspiring speaker, and he didn’t think much of anyone else’s oratory, either. His advice to new senators was, “You pass more bills when you’re brief.” The ward heeler had worked to defeat Obama in his races against Alice Palmer and Bobby Rush because the kid had broken the wait-your-turn rules of Chicago politics. But there was no incumbent Democrat in the Senate race. (In fact, there was no incumbent at all.

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