In my latest reading of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Barack Obama talks about his time at Columbia University, his work in the corporate world, and then his entrance into the world of community organizing.
I'd like to highlight something that Obama says on page 121:
might meet a black friend at his Midtown law firm, and before heading
to lunch at the MoMa, I would look out across the city toward the East
River from his high-rise office, imagining a satisfactory life for
myself----a vocation, a family, a home. Until I noticed that the only
other blacks in the office were messengers or clerks, the only other
blacks in the museum were blue-jacketed security guards who counted the
hours before they could catch their train home to Brooklyn or Queens."
is an important passage because Barack highlights that he had dreams of
a good life for himself, but he wondered if those dreams could be
fulfilled because there were barriers that inhibited African-Americans
from economically rising.
Interestingly, after Barack got an
education and was thinking of becoming a community organizer, an
African-American security guard named Ike tried to encourage Barack to
go into something that would make him more money. Ike saw that Obama
had potential, and he wanted Barack to succeed financially! But Barack
was drawn to community organizing, in part because of his admiration for
the civil rights movement. Then, Barack felt, he could make a
difference at a grass-roots level.
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