Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

The Quotable Black Scholar: Barack Hussein Obama

January 22nd, 2009 by Ajuan Mance

President Barack Obama giving his inaugural address, January 20, 2009


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

— Inauguration address, as transcribed by Time Magazine


Biographical Notes: Barack Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he became the first Black editor of the Law Review. From 1992 to 2004, he taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. During his campaign for the presidency of the United States, a minor controversy was touched off when some of his opponents took issue with his claim that he had been a constitutional law professor at UC. Eventually, the University issued an official statement that put the debate to rest:

UC Law School statement: The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as “Senior Lecturer.” From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School’s Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

Reprinted from

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Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Academia, African Americans, Barack Obama, Black History, Current Events, Higher Education, race, University of Chicago

2 Responses

  1. Clnmike

    Definitely one of the most charismatic speakers ever to hold office.

    But after Bush it’s not hard to look good.

  2. Erica

    I’m so glad Barack Hussein Obama is our president. 😉