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The Evolution of Barack Obama

With President-elect Barack Obama set to take the oath of office, it’s worth noting how Black Issues in Higher Education, the predecessor to Diverse, has covered him over the years. Black Issues chronicled Obama when he came into prominence with his historic 1990 election as the president of the Harvard Law Review. That election, the first ever for any Black at what is considered the most prestigious, student-run law review in the United States, gave national exposure to Obama, foreshadowing his career of high accomplishment.

In “Opening Another Door: The Saga of Harvard’s Barack H. Obama” from the March 15, 1990, edition of Black Issues, former staff writer Gaynelle Evans discovers a young man whose canny self-awareness is captured vividly in the quotes he provides.

“People like myself are learning a certain language of mainstream society of power and decision making … We have an obligation to go back to the Black community, to listen and learn and help give our people a voice,” Obama told Evans. Read the article at

In 2004, senior writer Ronald Roach caught up with Obama in central Illinois as Obama campaigned for the U.S. Senate during a tour of Illinois community colleges. In “Obama Rising,” in the Oct. 7, 2004 edition of Black Issues, and the interview text that accompanied it, “On the Road with Barack Obama,” Obama revealed a wide range of views, including those on U.S. education and how his stint as a lecturer at the University of Chicago law school helped shape his political career. Read the article at

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