Following the departure from the White House of Barack Obama and the arrival of Donald
Trump, the college’s Black Student Union (BSU) looked back on Obama’s legacy as the first black president of the United States.
President of the BSU Arriq Singleton remembers how he felt when Obama first became president, despite being in elementary school at the time.
“I was ambivalent because I was excited, but at the same time scared … that someone would assassinate him very quickly because it felt so surreal,” Singleton said. “Everybody around me sort of had this collective fear for his life in the early stages of his presidency.”
Despite being critical of some of Obama’s actions, such as how he handled the Dakota Access Pipeline dilemma, Singleton admires the former president’s love for his family.
“It’s pretty admirable to make it to such an exalted position and still have the grace and humility to recognize how important [his family was] in making [him] the man that [he] came to be,” Singleton said.
BSU vice president Jesse Black became aware of Obama running for office in seventh grade. He says that if he had been able to vote for him then, he would have.
“I’m half black and it was really cool having another person who was half black and went through this [same] sort of identity thing,” Black said. “Seeing someone be able to overcome everything to become one of the most powerful people in the world; that was really cool for me to see.”
Though he was against some of the decisions made by the Obama Administration, such as the amount of drone strikes it oversaw, Black loved how relatable Obama was and how he treated the people of America.
The Union’s historian, Joshua Parker, can still remember seeing Obama in person at age 11 and how amazing it felt. “When [Obama] came to Kansas City, I was in the front row,” Parker said. “I actually got to shake his hand. I was actually on the cover of the Washington Post.”
Parker has very fond memories of how well the former president connected to the community and believes the good deeds he did for the United States far outweigh the bad.
“Not many people can say they saw an African-American president,” Parker said. “It changed the whole perspective of things. In my idea, anyone can do anything.”
While these three members have some varying opinions, they can all agree Obama was a positive president.
“He made a lot of differences in the world just by how everything changed and how everything is changing now,” Parker said. “Looking at what’s going on right now to what happened in the eight-year span, he was a pretty good president.”
The Black Student Union meets every other Tuesday at 4 p.m. in CC 224. All students interested in the group are welcome to attend.