Illinois Daily Herald -Associated Press: May 3, 1990: “Harvard Student Tackles Racism At Core“
Link to document at DocStoc
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) His boyhood friends in Indonesia were street peddlers, and his grandmother still lives in a mud-walled house in Kenya.
But Barack Obama is another world away, presiding over the Harvard Law Review as the first black president in the prestigious journal’s 103-year history.
The charismatic 28-year-old, ensconced in the halls where tradition reigns, is taking aim at another custom: Obama’s sights are set on the South Side of Chicago, not on a U.S. Supreme Court clerkship or a fast-track career with, a cushy firm.
“I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me. And I’m not interested in isolating myself,” Obama said in a recent interview. “I feel good when I’m engaged in what I think are the core issues of the society, and those core issues to me are what’s happening to poor folks in this society.”
His passion is rooted in his background. He was born in Hawaii, his father an Oxford and Harvard-educated economist from the African nation of Kenya, his mother a white anthropologist from Kansas.
Obama moved to Southeast Asia at age 2 when his parents divorced and his mother married an Indonesian. Until the fifth grade. Obama attended Indonesian schools, where most of his friends were the sons of servants, street peddlers and farmers.
Concern for Obama’s education led his mother to return him to Hawaii, where he attended public schools [FALSE] through high school. In 1983, he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in political science.
At a recent meeting in a Harvard cafeteria, his affinity with the underdog was readily apparent. “I lived in a country where I saw extreme poverty at a very early age,” Obama said. “Parts of my family in Kenya remain very poor. My grandmother still lives in a mud-walled house with no running water or electricity.
“That’s who I am, that’s where I come from, not always literally, but at least emotionally.”
Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988, and through a combination of grades and a writing competition, was elected to head the law review this February. He succeeded Peter Yu, a first generation Chinese-American. Obama cautions against reading too much into his election.
“It’s crucial that people don’t see my election as somehow a symbol of progress in the broader sense, that we don’t sort of point to a Barack Obama any more than you point to a Bill Cosby or a Michael Jordan and say ‘Well, things are hunky dory,’” Obama said.
“There’s certainly racism here. There are certain burdens that are placed, more emotionally at this point than concretely,” Obama said.
“Professors may treat black students differently, sometimes by being, sort of, more dismissive, sometimes by being more, sort of, careful because they think, you know, they think that somehow we can’t cope in the classroom,” he said.
Obama sees the inner cities as the front lines of racism.
“It’s critical at this stage for people who want to see genuine change to focus locally. And it is crucial that we figure out how to rebuild the core of leadership and institutions in these communities,” he said.
For five years before law school, Obama took on that task in Chicago. As the director of a program that tried to bring South Side churches, unions and block associations together on projects, Obama was not trying to solve local problems, he said. Instead he sought to construct something more lasting â€” a forum for the community, “I’m interested in organizations, not movements, because movements dissipate and organizations don’t,” Obama said.
America suffered when the movements of the 1960s dissipated, he said. Those movements succeeded in raising doubts about harmful traditions of sexism and racism, but failed to offer a viable alternative.
Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous, Obama said.
I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.And the future of black people and of America generally? It depends on how good I do my job, he said.
“Less mean spirited“… indeed.
I downloaded the scanned image back in 2008, and since so much time has past I have unfortunately forgotten the source.
And I have been unable to find a direct link to the article.
Update: Giving credit, where credit is due.
Thanks to @jstablehand here is the source of the original scanned image:
Edit May 18, 2012: link dead — http://www.nakedemperornews.com/youngObama.pdf
Stable Hand has also shared this link to the Jewish Odysseus report (dated September 28, 2008) on the Obama interview: “OBAMA BOASTED: “I’M NOT INTERESTED IN THE SUBURBS. THE SUBURBS BORE ME.”
I have found a reference to the article which also notes the author; ‘Allison J Pugh’ Associated Press writer here:
“From the mouths of babes” – Dave Levinthal Dallas Morning News Feb. 28, 2008
It’s from a story written by Associated Press reporter Allison J. Pugh in 1990, when Mr. Obama was a Harvard law student and president of the Harvard Law Review. [...]
Update 3: Pay dirt! (Left-wing) David Gregory host of Meet the Press made mention of the article here, including the relevant quotes:
MR. GREGORY:It’s interesting, we actually found something from 1990, Rick, where he was elected to president of Harvard Law Review, which is very prestigious, and he gets a lot of pickup in that as, as you write about in the book. The Associated Press has an interview with him, and this is what he says. “`Hopefully, more and more people will begin to feel their story is somehow part of this larger story of how we’re going to reshape America in a way that is less mean-spirited and more generous,’ Obama said.” Remember this is 20 years ago almost to the week. “`I mean, I really hope to be part of a transformation of this country.’ And the future of black people and of America generally? `It depends on how good I do my job,’ he said.”
You talk about somebody who seemed to have his head on about where he wanted to go ultimately.
A few references without direct links:
Barack Obama’s Law; Harvard Law Review’s first black president plans a life of public service (paid archive), Los Angeles Times, 1990-03-12, p. E1. Pugh, Allison J.
“First Black President Of School’s Law Review Uninterested In A Cushy Job” -Allison J Pugh Associated Press April 16, 1990
“No Cushy Post for this Pioneer Harvard Law Review Chief Plans to Work in Inner City”, by Allison J Pugh in The Akron Beacon-Journal (19 April 1990)
Cool. This post made Technorati’s Hottest Political Blog Posts list. (I’m assuming for today’s date.)
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Barack Obama – Wikiquote
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Linked at Rachel Maddow’s blog. VERY few hits coming in from her link (shocker! lol), so I’ll not give her any. Equal justice. If you want to view copy/paste this URL into your address bar.: http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/16/10725085-links-for-the-316-trms
Hey Tommy ‘ObamaTool’ Christopher LEARN the difference between quotation marks: “word” AND : ‘word’, would ya! What a flaming dumb ass…
BTW Tommy boy, another difference you seem unable to grasp, is that Obama loathes America and all that she stands for. Sooo…there is no comparison between his and Bush’s statements. Now get up off of your knees, and be a real man. Oops…what am I saying…never mind.