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Sunday, August 05, 2007

The First Black President?

I was musing about whether the United States was ready for a black President. My initial premise was that we've HAD black Presidents already, at least in fiction. Morgan Freeman was Tom Beck, the worried Commander-in-Chief facing Armageddon from above in the 1998 movie Deep Impact. Then, of course, there were Dennis Haysbert (pictured) as the noble David Palmer whose death was mourned, then D.B. Woodside as his brother, and less well-regarded successor, Wayne Palmer, on the TV program 24. (Can you think of others?)

So, I was looking for other examples, but got totally sidetracked.

The best case for Black ancestry is against Warren G. Harding (pictured), our 29th president from 1921 until 1923. Harding himself never denied his ancestry. When Republican leaders called on Harding to deny the "Negro" history, he said, "How should I know whether or not one of my ancestors might have jumped the fence."

This piece suggests that at least five former Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Harding, and Calvin Coolidge had black ancestors. This version even has a link to a video, laying out the case. Other pieces, even more speculative than these, suggest George Washington, Dwight Eisenhower, and Bill Clinton also may belong to the tribe.

So, if any of this is really true, then the precedent re: the Presidency has been broken, and electing someone who looks like this guy should not be a problem, eh?


GayProf said...

I lost faith in the American public to make decent choices at the voting booth around 2004.

Nik said...

Did you ever read Irving Wallace's novel The Man? I read it years and years ago but it was an interesting take on the 1st black president - written in the '60s I think and quite startling for the era I imagine.