DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-20 01:47Z by Steven

DNA Shows Warren Harding Wasn’t America’s First Black President

The New York Times
2015-08-18

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON — Bill Clinton was called the first black president because he crossed racial lines so easily, a distinction he lost when Barack Obama became the first actual black president. But for decades, some Americans claimed that the nation’s first black president was really Warren G. Harding.

It turns out that he wasn’t, really. At least that is the result of new DNA testing that according to scientists showed for the first time that Harding almost certainly had no recent ancestors with African blood, despite assertions that were spread far and wide a century ago in efforts to sabotage everything from his marriage to his political career.

The finding was overshadowed last week by the determination through the same testing that Harding did father a child with a mistress, Nan Britton. But the conclusion about Harding’s racial ancestry likewise addresses a mystery that had puzzled historians for many years and provides a seemingly definitive resolution of a subplot that played out during his lifetime…

Read the entire article here.

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DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding’s Love Life

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-13 15:32Z by Steven

DNA Is Said to Solve a Mystery of Warren Harding’s Love Life

The New York Times
2015-08-12

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON — She was denounced as a “degenerate” and a “pervert,” accused of lying for money and shamed for waging a “diabolical” campaign of falsehoods against the president’s family that tore away at his legacy.

Long before Lucy Mercer, Kay Summersby or Monica Lewinsky, there was Nan Britton, who scandalized a nation with stories of carnal adventures in a White House coat closet and endured a ferocious backlash for publicly claiming that she bore the love child of President Warren G. Harding.

Now nearly a century later, according to genealogists, new genetic tests confirm for the first time that Ms. Britton’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann Blaesing, was indeed Harding’s biological child. The tests have solved one of the enduring mysteries of presidential history and offer new insights into the secret life of America’s 29th president. At the least, they demonstrate how the march of technology is increasingly rewriting the nation’s history books.

The revelation has also roiled two families that have circled each other warily for 90 years, struggling with issues of rumor, truth and fidelity. Even now, members of the president’s family remain divided over the matter, with some still skeptical after a lifetime of denial and unhappy about cousins who chose to pursue the question. Some descendants of Ms. Britton remain resentful that it has taken this long for evidence to come out and for her credibility to be validated…

…The testing also found that President Harding had no ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa, answering another question that has intrigued historians. When Harding ran for president in 1920, segregationist opponents claimed he had “black blood.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-03-08 00:44Z by Steven

Obama, at Selma Memorial, Says, ‘We Know the March Is Not Over Yet’

The New York Times
2015-03-07

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Richard Fausset


Doug Mills/The New York Times

SELMA, Ala. — As a new generation struggles over race and power in America, President Obama and a host of political figures from both parties came here on Saturday, to the site of one of the most searing days of the civil rights era, to reflect on how far the country has come and how far it still has to go.

Fifty years after peaceful protesters trying to cross a bridge were beaten by police officers with billy clubs, shocking the nation and leading to passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, the nation’s first African-American president led a bipartisan, multiracial testimonial to the pioneers whose courage helped pave the way for his own election to the highest office of the land.

But coming just days after Mr. Obama’s Justice Department excoriated the police department of Ferguson, Mo., as a hotbed of racist oppression, even as it cleared a white officer in the killing of an unarmed black teenager, the anniversary seemed more than a commemoration of long-ago events on a black-and-white newsreel. Instead, it provided a moment to measure the country’s far narrower, and yet stubbornly persistent, divide in black-and-white reality…

Read the entire article here. Read President Obama’s transcript here.

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Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2015-03-07 21:22Z by Steven

Urging Persistence on Racial Gains, Obama Recalls Sacrifice in Selma

The New York Times
2015-03-06

Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, White House Correspondent

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For the nation’s first African-American president, it was a week of two documents that told the story of a country still grappling with its own history.

The first was a draft speech that President Obama was marking up with his distinctive left-hand scrawl to deliver in Selma, Ala., on Saturday to celebrate a half-century of civil rights gains. The second was a report he received accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of systematically discriminating against African-Americans.

More than once, Mr. Obama has credited the courage of protesters in Selma who were confronted by club-wielding state troopers 50 years ago for clearing the way for his own barrier-breaking election as president. But the path from Selma to the Oval Office has also led to Ferguson and back to Selma, a path littered with hope and progress and disappointment and setback…

Read the entire article here.

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Saluting a Dream, and Adapting It for a New Era

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-08-29 04:12Z by Steven

Saluting a Dream, and Adapting It for a New Era

The New York Times
2013-08-28

Peter Baker and Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON — President Obama stepped into the space on Wednesday where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stood, summoning his iconic dream of a colorblind society in a celebration of a half-century of progress and a call to arms for the next generation.

On a day of overcast skies and misty rain, tens of thousands of Americans — black, white and every shade in between — returned to the site of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to listen to the nation’s first black president pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way for his own ascension to the heights of American government.

“Because they kept marching, America changed,” the president said as Dr. King’s family watched. “Because they marched, a civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, a voting rights law was signed. Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else’s laundry or shining somebody else’s shoes.

“Because they marched,” he added, “city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually, the White House changed.”

The symbolic journey from Dr. King to Mr. Obama on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial animated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom more than any oratory. While Mr. Obama’s line about the White House changing was his only reference to his unique place in history, the power of his presence was lost on no one.

But it also underscored the challenge to a movement to reframe its mission for a new era. With an African-American in the Oval Office, it is harder to argue about political empowerment than it was in 1963, and much of the day’s message centered on tackling persistent economic disparity, as well as newer frontiers of civil rights like equality for gay men and lesbians…

Read the entire article here. Read President Obama’s full remarks here.

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President, Not Preacher, but Speaking More on Race

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-08-29 01:43Z by Steven

President, Not Preacher, but Speaking More on Race

The New York Times
2013-08-27

Peter Baker

WASHINGTON — Sitting in the Roosevelt Room with prominent African-American religious leaders, President Obama on Monday mused about how far the nation had come in the 50 years since the March on Washington led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and how far it still had to go.

A president who often shies away from talking about race is set to deliver his own speech on Wednesday from the Lincoln Memorial. One thing he knew, he said, was that he could not fill Dr. King’s shoes. “He was discouraging us from comparing him to Dr. King,” said the Rev. Alvin Love of Chicago, one of the preachers who were there.

For Mr. Obama, Dr. King has been an idol, a role model and a burden since he assumed the presidency. He keeps a bust of the civil rights leader in the Oval Office along with a framed program from the 1963 march, and some of his favorite lines have been adopted from Dr. King. But as the nation’s first black president, Mr. Obama has found that no matter how much supporters may want to compare them, he cannot be a latter-day Dr. King…

…Outside events have also forced race back into the spotlight, and onto the Obama agenda. After the Supreme Court overturned part of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. went to court seeking to use other elements of the law to challenge a Texas statute. The Trayvon Martin case in Florida led Mr. Obama to make a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to talk about the sting of being trailed in stores as a young black man

Read the entire article here.

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Asked to Declare His Race, Obama Checks ‘Black’

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-03-16 16:40Z by Steven

Asked to Declare His Race, Obama Checks ‘Black’

The New York Times
2010-04-02

Sam Roberts

Peter Baker

It is official: Barack Obama is the nation’s first black president.

A White House spokesman confirmed that Mr. Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, checked African-American on the 2010 census questionnaire…

…Mr. Obama could have checked white, checked both black and white, or checked the last category on the form, “some other race,” which he would then have been asked to identify in writing…

Read the entire article here.

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