Skip to comments.Obama, the Selma Speech and the Kennedys - Does Obama hate Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier
Posted on 03/30/2008 3:19:24 PM PDT by Shermy
Is Barack Obama jealous of Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier? This is one interpretation about his curious misattribution of his fathers transport to the University of Hawaii in 1959 to the Kennedy family.
About a month ago a member here posted a 2007 speech by Obama made at a church in Selma, Alabama, in part:
What happened in Selma, Alabama and Birmingham also stirred the conscience of the nation. It worried folks in the White House who said, You know, were battling Communism. How are we going to win hearts and minds all across the world? If right here in our own country, John, were not observing the ideals set fort in our Constitution, we might be accused of being hypocrites. So the Kennedys decided were going to do an air lift. Were going to go to Africa and start bringing young Africans over to this country and give them scholarships to study so they can learn what a wonderful country America is.Some FR posts, blog comments and news articles showed confusion about the air lift, the Kennedy involvement, and whether Obamas father came to America in 1959 or 1960. Obama has elsewhere made clear it was 1959. I did some looking and found Obamas father came in 1959 and the Kennedys had nothing to do with it. Merely a few contemporaneous Time Magazine articles evidence this fact. This Time article dated September 21, 1959 states,
This young man named Barack Obama got one of those tickets and came over to this country. He met this woman whose great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves; but she had a good idea there was some craziness going on because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that the world as it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child. There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So dont tell me I dont have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Dont tell me Im not coming home to Selma, Alabama.
Into the halls of U.S. higher education last week marched an exotic vanguard: 81 African students, including 78 Kenyans the largest group ever to arrive from the British colony that most Americans know vaguely as the land of the Mau Mau. What the Kenyans knew about the U.S. was more specific: scholarships totaling some $100,000 were sending them to 52 colleges and universities, from Howard to Hawaii. The event was not one to make British colonial officials cheer.
The instigator was Kenya's canny Politician Tom Mboya, 28, currently embroiled in a hot fight to expand his native party (see FOREIGN NEWS). When Mboya swept through the U.S. on a speaking tour last spring, he roused support for a stirring project: giving able young Kenyans a crack at higher education. The Royal Technical College of East Africa in Nairobi grants only subuniversity diplomas. Kenyans with a yen for more than a technical degree must go to Uganda's Makerere College, an affiliate of the University of London, or somehow find their way overseas.
To Mboya's aid came prominent U.S. Negroesnotably ex-Dodger Jackie Robinson, Balladeer Harry Belafonte, Actor Sidney Poitier. In flowed the scholarships. The Americans chipped in plane fare; Africans chipped in pocket money. Carefully screened by Mboya, the 81 students enplaned for New York.
Robinson, Belafonte and Poitier let fly with a charge that Kenya's higher educational opportunities "are nonexistent under the repressive colonial system." "The facts are very different," snapped the British embassy's Colonial Attache Douglas Williams in a letter to the New York
The 81 students were brought to America my a combination of Universities offering scholarships and private citizens paying for the transport. The Kennedys had nothing to do with this event. However, the following year they did for the next batch of students. In 1960 Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon vied for the presidency and the costs of the airlift became public campaign issue. Jackie Robinson, a Nixon supporter, pressed the State Department for some funds. The Kennedys publicly stepped in and contributed substantial funds. This Time article dated August 29, 1960 gives the background. Kennedys explanation of events is here: BACKGROUND MEMORANDUM PREPARED BY SENATOR KENNEDY'S OFFICE, AUGUST 1960
Today the Washington Post today published an article,brought to my attention here at FR, challenging the Kennedy involvement in Obamas fathers coming to America, so I thought I would add my two bits.
In Dreams From My Father page 9 Obama relates this:
My father grew up herding his fathers goats and attending the local school, set up by the British colonial administration, where he had shown great promise. He eventually won a scholarship to study in Nairobi; and then, on the eve of Kenyan independence, he had been selected by Kenyan leaders and American sponsors to attend a university in the United States, joining the first large wave of Africans to be sent fort to master Western technology and bring it back to forge a new, modern Africa.Here Obama shows he is aware his fathers coming to America was not some mere student exchange but a part of a big event. There is no mention of any Kennedys involved. But there is no mention of Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte or Jackie Robinson either. I may be speaking for myself, but if my father had come from a foreign county and the three, or any one of these three famous people were involved in facilitating that event, I would be bragging about it. Obamas Selma speech was in part to relate himself to the Kennedys but mostly to connect himself to the Black American experience. What better way to do that than to claim, truthfully, his fathers connection to Poitier, Belafonte and Robinson, all famous figures for their careers and the battle for equal Civil Rights? One might argue that by cold political calculation Obama decided to dump these Black heroes for the more powerful White ones. Indeed, he has little problem befriending his White benefactor Rezko who is accused of, among other things, fraudulently grabbing government grant money set aside for Black contractors. I have no idea whether Rezko is guilty, but it certainly seems impolitic for Obama to associate with a man under the clouds of such a charge. I suppose it is possible Obama did not know of his connection to Poitier, Belafonte and Robinson but he seems to be aware of the importance of the African student airlift. His own mother might have told him of the connection to the three famous men and with that possibility Obama says some interesting things in his book. While describing his life in Indonesia he writes about his looks, his race, and her interest in Black Americans. Pp. 50-51 in Dreams From My Father,
In 1959, at the age of twenty-three, he arrived at the University of Hawaii as that institutions first African student. He studied econometrics, worked with unsurpassed concentration, and graduated in three years at the top of his class.
You have me to thank for your eyebrows...your father has these little wispy eyebrows that dont amount to much. But your brains, your character, you got from him.Not the son, not the father, but Harry. She also gave approval to another man with movie star looks, Sidney Poitier. Perhaps Obama knew about the connection of Belafonte and Poitier to his fathers coming to America and his failure to mention it is not due to ignorance, but jealousy and a discomfort with his mother. Is it possible that his father did not tell his mother about his famous benefactors? That she had not read about it in Time Magazine? That she did not tell Obama given her feelings for Belafonte and Poitier? I tend to doubt it but hey, I wasnt there.
Her message came to embrace black people generally. She would come home with books on the civil rights movement, the recordings of Mahalia Jackson, the speeches of Dr. King...Every black man was Thurgood Marshall or Sidney Poitier; every black woman Fannie Lou Hamer or Lena Horne. To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.
Burdens we were to carry with style. More than once, my mother would point out: Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.
Shrink’s opinion much desired.
Dear ol’ mom ping.
In my view this is like any other calculation a liberal makes.
Is it better to tell the truth, or invent a truth that better fits the goal you have in mind?
“Is it better to tell the truth, or invent a truth that better fits the goal you have in mind?”
In my less than perfect way I’m trying to also suggest it is in his “mind”, that there may be a psychological element here.
The bigger problem is Senator Obama never had a father. He was gone by age 2 and replaced by another for 4-5 years in Indonesia. Then to Hawaii and finally his mother left him in the care of two white people.
No question. Senator Obama identifies with the black experience; this required several father substitutes including Reverend Wright as well as his political mentor in Chicago whose name slips my present mind.
First things first. Having parents or parent substitutes trumps any historical worries about trivial associations.
his mother left him in the care of two white people.
Do you mean his maternal grandparents????
Of course, and he describes his grandmother as a “typical white person” to boot.
The Washington Post article mentions a speech made at the American University. Here’s a link.
About 12min. in he starts about his father and the Kennedys.
The first 12 min.s may be the biggest political kiss-up in American history. On and on and on about the Kennedys, as a group and individually.
“Having parents or parent substitutes trumps any historical worries about trivial associations.”
I know you are correct from a “treatment” perspective, but in political salesmanship sense I don’t think its trivial—if one is running on “connections” rather than issues. He’d rather brand himself with the Kennedys than black people.
wish everyone would just sit back and take a deep breath.
Obama Hussien hates his white half( like his mother hated her white “whole”), he will ,and can try to do everything to destroy the “White Nation”.He has a mental disorder. I know some mixed race people, they deal with problems like everyone else, but are strangely less accepted by their darker half relatives and acquaintances than the lighter side of the families. Who’s racist now in this day and age?
He was named after Sir Edmund Hussein Obama and encountered sniper fire as his plane landed in Hawaii.
So HE’S confused about his background. What “hope” is there for the rest of us?
Not to worry; he HOPES to CHANGE that!
They call me Mr. Fibs.
Assumption of the Presidency would make Obama the second bastard in the WH in a decade. Is this a trend? One big difference between Obama and Bill J. Clinton is that there are many more possibilities for BJ's actual sperm donor.
The guy who got the honor for fathering BJ may well have already been dead when Uncle Ray, the Hot Spring's fixer, arranged the paperwork for Bill's Ma. No doubt about one thing, the putative Dad was in the Army in Europe until 3 months before BJ's birth, and already was married and had a family in Texas.
Shrinks opinion much desired.
2 posted on 03/30/2008 3:20:09 PM PDT by Shermy
Borderline Personality Disorder:"Disturbances suffered by those with borderline personality disorder are wide-ranging. The general profile of the disorder typically includes a pervasive instability in mood, extreme "black and white" thinking, or "splitting", chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior, as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation."
In the dissociation phase the person can draw imaginary connections between the self and world events or famous persons where there is no connection. Hillary served up a similar example with the claim she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary. Obama was abandoned by his natural father at a young age. The defense mechanism is to exaggerate the father's importance and significance in world events. Another possibility for dissociative fantasy would be the messiah complex.
Keep watching. There should be other examples of dissociation, fantasy, and ego inflation.